Up to 9 years demanded against couriers who moved half a billion criminal money

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

Up to 9 years demanded against couriers who moved half a billion criminal money

The Public Prosecution Service on Monday demanded up to nine years in prison against members of a courier network that moved almost 500 million euros in cash for criminals. Eight suspects are on trial this week at the Den Bosch court. They are said to have been led by 52-year-old Albanian Greek Thanas B., who was extradited by Greece last year and is on trial in a separate case.

FBI

The investigation by the Underground Banking Taskforce (TF-UB) started with chat messages from the communication platform ANOM, obtained from the American FBI. It showed that between June 2020 and March 2021, the group engaged in the collection and distribution of enormous amounts of cash on a daily basis; so-called picks & kicks. There appears to be a well-oiled network of couriers behind this who transfer bags full of cash in public places in the Netherlands. The suspects use ‘tokens’ characteristic of underground banking as proof of payment. In total, more than 246,130,620 euros were raised (picked) and an amount of 247,830,600 euros was given away (kicked) in eight months.

Meticulous

According to the Public Prosecution Service, the suspects acted ‘as if they were field salespeople of a legal company’. Day in day out, large sums of money were collected, counted, redistributed and taken away again. The administration was kept meticulously. There were coordinators from the various offices who held work meetings. They discussed the improvement of work processes and procedures. It became clear that it was anything but a regular company after the roll-up of crypto communication platform EncroChat. It was then immediately agreed that the delivery addresses would no longer be mentioned in the app, but would be referred to a number on a list. Daily balances were no longer allowed to be written by hand to prevent recognition.

‘The Hague office’ and ‘Amsterdam office’

The organization had two locations serving different areas; ‘The Hague office’ and ‘Amsterdam office’. In reality, warehouses in which criminal money was counted and redistributed. The Hague office turns out to be a warehouse in Wateringen that was even robbed. During a search, the police found several hidden spaces and a money counting machine.

1.3 million in cash

‘Amsterdam Office’ becomes the new head office after the robbery, and turns out to consist of a warehouse in Nieuw-Vennep. Here too there was a hidden room, money counting machines, but an amount of 1,300,000 euros was also found, including memos of the amounts to be counted. Several suspects are linked to this location.

Penalties

The Public Prosecution Service demanded six years in prison on Monday against three suspects: a 41-year-old man from Leidschendam, a 27-year-old man from Haarlem and a 26-year-old man from Mijdrecht. Two of them were seen at the ‘Amsterdam office’ when they were busy with a transaction. A 42-year-old man from The Hague was also active here as a money runner, and taught newcomers the tricks of the money runner’s trade. His brother, a 45-year-old man also from The Hague, had previously been arrested with a large amount of money in his car. According to the Public Prosecution Service, that did not stop him from creating a hidden space in the Amsterdam office. The two brothers were sentenced to 6.5 years and 6 years and three months in prison respectively.

Greek suspect

According to the Public Prosecution Service, a 61-year-old man from Amsterdam had a managerial role and was in close contact with 52-year-old Thanas B., who was arrested by the Greek police in June 2023 at the request of the Dutch authorities. The two communicated via ANOM and Sky ECC about the balances and the commissions to be paid and are involved in underground banking on a daily basis. They use the services of others, such as an accountant, a 52-year-old woman from Amsterdam.

The 61-year-old Amsterdam resident has been sentenced to nine years in prison, while the 52-year-old accountant will have to spend three years in prison if it is up to the Public Prosecution Service.

The Greek co-suspect is on trial in a separate case, but was heard in court on Monday as a witness in the case of his suspected associates. He invoked his right to remain silent, just like the 61-year-old Amsterdammer.

Crime money

Some suspects acknowledged that they had worked as money couriers, but they would not have known that the money involved was criminal. They did not reveal anything about the origin of the bags of cash they moved and their clients. Yet, according to the justice department, it is clearly clear from the chats that it concerns crime money. They are all suspected of participating in a criminal organization and laundering criminal money.

In addition to the prison sentences, the Public Prosecution Service demands fines between 10,000 and 40,000 euros. The public prosecutor also wants the seized amounts of money and cars to be forfeited.

Also see:

OM: courier Greek underworld banker arrested

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img