Taxi driver Waqas Ilyas, 35, who admitted money laundering, was caught with £248,880 in his Skoda car in April 2015. A further £36,435 was found under a bed during searches of his home.
His partner Nazia Ghafar, 31, who also admitted guilt, was found to have a ‘ledger book’ that listed transactions totalling more than £1.7 million over a one month period.
The pair initially claimed the cash was linked to an informal ‘Hawala’ banking arrangement. But, facing trial, they both backed down and admitted the offences, making no challenge to the seizure of all the money.
Richard Wentel, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“This couple realised their weak explanations would not stand up in court and finally admitted their crimes. HMRC will not tolerate this illegal economy. If there is no legitimate reason for bundles of cash like this we will seize it – explain it or lose it.
“Crime doesn’t pay and we will always target money laundering. I would urge anyone who has information about this type of activity or witnesses suspicious large cash transactions to call the 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Ilyas was sentenced to four years jail and Ghafar to two years jail suspended for 18 months on Friday at Manchester Crown Court.