Peterborough man jailed for smuggling £7 million in cash out of the UK

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A Peterborough man who was part of a gang who smuggled £7 million in cash out of the UK has been jailed for eight years.

Jan Kolicaj (47) from Thornleigh Drive, Peterborough, and his brother, Gjelosh Kolicaj organised travel for four others who acted as couriers by carrying large amounts of cash in their luggage. Over 80 trips were made by the group between November 2016 and January 2018 to countries including Belgium and Greece for onward transportation to Albania.

Faton Syberi (left) Gjelosh Kolicaj (centre) and Jak Kolicaj (right)

Faton Syberi (left) Gjelosh Kolicaj (centre) and Jak Kolicaj (right)

The pair drove the couriers to the airport and waited until they had checked in the suitcase before leaving.

Airline records showed that the brothers also made similar journeys to Europe, taking bags on the outbound flight and returning to the UK empty-handed.

On September 5 2017, £180,000 was seized from Faton Syberi as he attempted to travel to Thessaloniki from Stansted airport. Cash was found wrapped in brown packaging in a plastic carrier bag, concealed in a second, inner suitcase.

On October 7 2017, £100,000 was seized from Dumitru Tanase at Gatwick airport who was also due to fly to Thessaloniki.

Some of the cash found by officers

Some of the cash found by officers

Gjelosh Kolicaj, (37) of Lakeside Crescent, Barnet and Syberi (35) of Mount Pleasant Road, Tottenham Hale, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to remove criminal property from the UK.

After a month-long trial at Kingston Crown Court in September, Jak Kolicaj was found guilty of conspiracy to remove criminal property from the UK. Dumitru Tanase also stood trial and was acquitted.

Jak Kolicaj, Gjelosh Kolicaj and Syberi were sentenced on December 19 to eight years, six years, and two years and five months respectively.

NCA Branch Commander Aaron Chappell said: “This group made a significant number of journeys out of the UK with large amounts of cash destined for Albania.

“Organised crime groups rely on money launderers like these men, to benefit from their crime and re-invest in further criminality.

“Disrupting the flow of illicit money is a priority for the NCA and by removing launderers from the chain we significantly inhibit the illegal activity of a much wider criminal network.”