Friday 13 November 2020 3:27 pm

Two charged with money laundering after £1.2m Heathrow cash bust

Two Czech nationals have been charged with money laundering after being busted at Heathrow airport with more than £1.2m stuffed in suitcases, UK Border Force announced today.

Zdenek Kamaryt, 37, and Michala Repperova, 26, were questioned by Border Force officials as they tried to board a flight to Dubai on Sunday morning.

Read more: Heathrow passenger numbers fall for eighth straight month

Officers found £1.2m cash in various currencies stuffed in three separate suitcases, and a further £30,000 in two handbags.

The pair were charged with money laundering at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Tuesday, where they were remanded in custody until their next appearance at Isleworth Crown Court on 10 December.

The arrests mark the second major cash bust at Heathrow airport in just five weeks, after a British woman tried to flee to Dubai from the same airport terminal at the beginning of October. 

Tara Hanlon, a 30-year-old woman from Leeds, was stopped at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 on 3 October with £1.9m-worth of banknotes spread across five suitcases.

The discovery marked the largest cash bust at the border so far this year. 

Hanlon was arrested alongside a 28-year-old woman, also from Yorkshire, before also being charged with money laundering at Uxbridge Magistrates Court.

It is unclear whether the two cases are related.

Commenting on the latest revelations, Chris Philp, minister for immigration compliance and the courts, said: “This is the second largest individual cash seizure at the border in the space of five weeks and shows that Border Force will not relent in their search for money believed to be connected with criminality.

“Clamping down on the export of undeclared cash from the UK is vital in our fight against organised criminal gangs.”

The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) has led recent calls for new regulation to ensure businesses’ supervisory systems are able to identify potential money laundering activity, which costs the UK more than £100bn each year.

Read more: City watchdog blasts UK banks over money laundering safeguards

Following a spate of high-profile money laundering scandals last year, the NECC said the fresh regulation was urgent to clamp down on the criminal money, which “results in a loss of confidence in [the] UK economy which has far reaching consequences for us all”.

Rick Kent of the NECC said: “Virtually all high-end money laundering schemes, and several cash based ones, are facilitated by the abuse of legitimate processes and services.”

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