21 November 2017
A group of Chinese money launderers paid more than £1.8 million in criminal cash into London high street banks in a period of just two weeks.
Fen Chen, 32, her friend Ying Lin, 27, and two associates took bundles of bank notes into dozens of branches between 30 July and 15 August 2016.
National Crime Agency officers arrested Chen shortly after she accepted a bag containing more than £300,000 from Albanian Fation Koka, 30, in the car park of an Asda supermarket in Park Royal on 15 August 2016.
Another £180,000 cash was discovered in bags and hiding places at Fen’s flat in nearby Bodiam Court, along with bank slips detailing hundreds of deposits totalling £1.8 million. A cash counting machine was found in another room.
NCA officers found text messages on Chen’s and Koka’s phones that showed another cash handover happened in the same car park on 31 July 2016.
On this occasion Chen was out of the country and instead sent representatives to collect the money.
Investigators obtained CCTV bank footage showing Chen, Lin and others deposited cash in smaller amounts to avoid suspicion.
In November, at Kingston Crown Court, Chen was convicted of four counts of money laundering.
Today she was jailed for six years and three months.
NCA operations manager Kevin Gee said: “Fen Chen was a prolific money launderer, able to process millions of pounds in cash in a very short period of time.
“Chen was caught red handed in possession of around £300,000 belonging to an Albanian drugs gang.
“Organised crime groups rely on money launderers like Chen, who play an integral part in allowing them to benefit from and re-invest their criminal profits.
“Taking money launderers out of the chain, as we have done here, makes life far more difficult and more risky for crooks trying to clean their dirty cash.”
Koka previously admitted two counts of money laundering and was jailed for 21 months. He will be deported upon completion of his sentence.
Lin previously admitted a single charge of money laundering and was deported after being sentenced to 14 months in jail.