Man jailed for year over role in £860,000 money laundering scheme

Conor Riordan
·3-min read

A man who admitted money laundering offences after he was caught with more than £860,000 at an airport has been jailed for a year.

Lukas Pokorny, 42, was arrested by Border Force officers at Glasgow Airport as he was about to board a flight bound for Dubai on November 8 2020.

When officials searched three suitcases in his possession they found a large quantity of cash in each, totalling more than £860,000.

Pokorny, who is from the Czech Republic, was unable to provide keys to unlock the luggage, say who they belonged to or what they contained.

Cash in bags
The money was found in three suitcases (Crown Office/PA)

The High Court in Glasgow heard he was to fly to the United Arab Emirates and transfer the money to someone else.

Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland) charged him and he pled guilty to a charge under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC told the court on Tuesday that Pokorny had never been involved in criminal activity anywhere before and that he was “ashamed” by his involvement.

He added Pokorny was due to get £5,000 for his part in the money laundering.

His involvement was said to follow lockdown measures in the Czech Republic which stopped his business from operating.

It was heard he had already used up savings during the first wave of the pandemic.

Bundles of cash
The court heard Pokorny was ‘ashamed’ of his involvement (Crown Office/PA)

Mr McConnachie told the court Pokorny hoped to return to the Czech Republic upon his release from prison and get back to work.

The father-of-two was visibly distressed when judge Lady Stacey gave him a one-year prison sentence, backdated to November.

She had discounted it by a third due to his early guilty plea.

Lady Stacey said: “You understand that this is a serious matter, that it involved a lot of money and that I have to take the view which marks that society disapproves of people who assist in money laundering.

“I take into account all that Mr McConnachie has said and that is written in the social work report.

“I accept that you were previously of good character and I accept all the points in your favour that Mr McConnachie has made.”

Pokorny began to wipe away tears from his eyes when the judge said he would be sentenced to one year in jail.

The Crown Office said cash has been seized after a confiscation order was granted for £867,520, 360 euro and 700 koruna – covering the money in the suitcases and on his person.

Procurator fiscal for specialist casework, Jennifer Harrower, said: “This recovered money will be added to funds already gathered from Proceeds of Crime and will be reinvested in Scottish communities through the CashBack for Communities programme.”

She added: “I hope this will send a message to others involved in this kind of criminal behaviour. We will not stop at prosecution, but use all the powers at our disposal to target those who seek to profit from crime.”

Watch: How to prevent getting into debt