East London money launderer on the run after smuggling suitcases stuffed with cash to Dubai

·2-min read
L: Abdul Fahad and R: Money found in his car (National Crime Agency)
L: Abdul Fahad and R: Money found in his car (National Crime Agency)

An east London money launderer is on the run after smuggling an estimated £5 million in cash stuffed in suitcases out of the country.

The National Crime Agency this week appealed for help to find Abdul Fahad, of Meads Lane, Ilford, who absconded on bail after admitting three money laundering offences at Southwark crown court in September.

The 41-year-old was jailed for eight years in his absence earlier this month — and now a manhunt is underway to find him.

Police believe he could be in east London, particularly Ilford or East Ham, and he has connections to Dubai and Sri Lanka.

Money found in Fahad’s car (National Crime Agency)
Money found in Fahad’s car (National Crime Agency)

The court heard how Fahad was first arrested in 2018 after bundles of cash worth £100,000 were found in his car.

He told police it was his life savings but they discovered he was in regular contact with convicted money launderer Sathar Khan.

Khan was jailed in 2018 after trying to board a flight to Dubai with almost £1.5 million in cash in his suitcases.

A picture of a handwritten note was found detailing a schedule of dates for travel to Dubai between Fahad and Khan.

Between 2017 and 2018, the two men made nearly 200 return flights — frequently stuffing their suitcases with cash on their journey out.

Investigators believe Fahad left the UK with an extra 379kg of cash during that period, an estimated £5 million in total.

Abdul Fahad (National Crime Agency)
Abdul Fahad (National Crime Agency)

Messages also revealed attempts to recruit other couriers to do money laundering runs in July and August 2018.

This could have seen £50 million taken out of the UK if successful, say experts.

Jason Hulme, operations manager at the National Crime Agency, said: “Fahad was at the heart of a multi-million-pound money laundering conspiracy, moving cash which would have been derived from serious and organised crime in the UK and internationally.

“We are seeking information on his whereabouts in order that he is made to serve his prison sentence.”

Anyone with information is being asked to call the NCA Control Centre on 0370 496 7622 quoting Operation Blissless or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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