The pair laundered the proceeds of crime, including money from a major drug trafficking ring that saw three people jailed for 44 years after police found drugs worth £12 million and £2.1 million in cash.
Today, the pair were ordered to repay £1,218,163.54 and, as a result, were stripped of assets including:
· A £480,000 house in Middlesex
· A property in Stuttgart, Germany worth £200,000
· Jewellery stored in a Harrods safe deposit box worth £82,162.00
· A Mercedes A160
· Around £542,000 in bank accounts in the UK, Singapore, Canada and Germany.
Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“This couple helped many of the UK’s most serious and dangerous criminal gangs. Now they’ve lost everything – their liberty and all their assets.
“HMRC treats money laundering extremely seriously. We will pursue and prosecute those who facilitate and enable serious, organised crime. This case clearly shows we will not hesitate to take criminal assets no matter whether they are in the UK or offshore.”
The Sriskantharajah’s three bureaux gave the impression of legitimate, high street currency exchanges serving the London tourist market. But HMRC found their main trade was swapping Sterling for high denomination, easily concealable Euro notes for their criminal counterparts.
The bureaux traded as Universal Money Exchange (UME), on Shaftesbury Avenue and Oxford Street, and Buckingham Money Exchange (BME), on Buckingham Palace Road.
HMRC officers raided Universal Money Exchange in September 2011 and found more than £100,000 in cash. They also discovered keys for two safe deposit boxes at Harrods, both registered to Thilageswary Sriskantharajah, containing £223,000, $90,000 and €50,000 in cash – money that has been forfeited to the Crown – and high-value gold jewellery.
Investigators discovered much of the cash had been spent on jewellery, property investments in the UK and abroad and school tuition fees.