Four people arrested in international action against cocaine money laundering

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Four people arrested in international action against cocaine money laundering

The investigating judge in Antwerp has ruled that four of five suspects in an international investigation into money laundering from the drug trade remain in pre-trial detention. Last Monday there were searches in Antwerp, Brasschaat, Knokke-Heist, Stabroek and Vorst, and at the same time in Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The man is also said to have laundered money from oil companies.

Cash

The investigation was started in 2020 after information was received that a 46-year-old Belgian was laundering very large amounts of money, including from the import of batches of cocaine. The man had several companies of his own and a large network in the upper and lower world. He took cash but also made amounts available, according to the Antwerp public prosecutor’s office. According to the Gazet van Antwerpen, it concerns an antiques dealer: Jan H., who has already emerged in large drug investigations in Antwerp.

Petroleum sector

The public prosecutor’s office thinks that the man provided handyman services to criminal organizations that removed batches of cocaine from containers in the port of Antwerp. For example, he invested in cover loads in which cocaine could be hidden.

Together with co-defendants, he also allegedly laundered money from multinationals in the petroleum sector through a system of false contracts and false invoices. That money was then transferred to its own companies and to accounts in the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria. Luxury watches would be bought and sold for the purpose of transferring money.

Rolex watches

Evidence mainly comes from chats that suspects have sent with Sky ECC. The detective thinks they can prove that the man has made at least 9.5 million euros in profit. One of the other suspects, a 46-year-old Israeli, was arrested last Friday and the court confirmed his arrest today.

During the house searches, approximately 700,000 euros in cash, a money counting machine, a vacuum machine, a number of Rolex watches, weapons and mobile phones were found. Ten vehicles (including Mercedes, Porsche and BMW) were seized.

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