02 Nov 2017
A Barclays bank worker who played a key role in assisting a criminal gang to open bogus bank accounts and launder millions has been handed a four-year sentence.
Nilesh Sheth of Buckhurst Hill was part of a network that laundered at least £6.9 million stolen by international cyber criminals.
The money laundering operation was run by Iurie Mereacre, a 37-year-old Moldovan national, along with his associates Iurie Bivol (36), Serghei Bivol (31), and Ryingota Gincota (28), the National Crime Agency (NCA) said in a statement.
“Over a three year period, the group set up and controlled around 400 bank accounts in a conspiracy which involved receiving stolen funds into one account, then dispersing it in smaller amounts to a number of other accounts,” the NCA explained.
“This process would be repeated several times to disguise the source of the money before it was transferred back to cyber criminals in Eastern Europe.”
Sheth, a personal banking manager at Barclays, was instrumental in opening many of the ‘mule’ accounts, using false ID and address documents.
In a search of Sheth’s house in Redwoods Close, Buckhurst Hill, officers recovered over £16,000 in cash and nine mobile phones hidden in various places around the house, including under the kitchen sink and tucked behind the sofa cushions.
Mike Hulett, head of Operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said the sentencing is the culmination of a complex, international investigation into professional money laundering networks in the UK.
“Criminals rely heavily on the services provided by individuals like Sheth who abused his position at the bank to knowingly open sham accounts to assist Mereacre’s network with laundering millions,” he stated.
A Barclays spokesperson said: “This is a rare occasion where an individual deliberately exploited our systems. We have worked with and supported the NCA with this investigation and welcome the outcome of proceedings.”
The NCA has been working on setting up closer relationship with the banking sector in order to crackdown on money laundering and other financial crime in London.
In May 2016 it set up the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce, partnering with several UK and international banks.
– KYC360 News
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