British police suspect Naresh Kumar Jain, also wanted in Dubai, US and Europe, laundered millions for organized crime gangs. A multimillionaire suspected of being one of the world’s leading underworld bankers is under arrest in India after a global manhunt involving British police.
The Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) believes that Naresh Kumar Jain is responsible for laundering millions of pounds of profits from organized crime gangs in the UK over several years. His organization has been under investigation in Britain since 2006, after inquiries into the cash flows of drug gangs and other criminal networks repeatedly identified his alleged network at the end of money transactions.
Jain, 50, was seized in New Delhi on Sunday, a year after he jumped bail on money laundering charges in Dubai, from where he allegedly ran his operations. Soca is now liaising with both Indian and Dubai police.
Labeled a criminal mastermind by alleged victims, Jain is suspected of laundering money for Albanian and Italian heroin dealers, and narcotics cartels in America, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Britain, according to inquiries in Italy and the US. German and US police say Jain’s operation has tentacles in all of the major drug and terrorism hotspots across the globe. He was also wanted by police in Spain and the Netherlands.
According to Soca and other international agencies, Jain is suspected of controlling a laundering system capable of moving $2.2bn (£1.35bn) a year. From Dubai he allegedly provided customers with funds in a country of their choice. It is claimed his network was so extensive and lucrative that he often did not have to physically move money, a fact that made his detection all the more difficult, according to an investigative source.
Ian Cruxton, deputy director of Soca, said: “This operation is part of Soca’s long-term strategy targeting specialist money launderers based overseas. These networks pay no attention to cultural or geographical barriers and launder money for organized crime groups from any ethnic background or criminal businesses, particularly UK, Pakistani and Turkish nationals based in the UK and mainland Europe involved in drugs trafficking.”
Jain, also known as Naresh Patel, was arrested in April 2007 by Dubai police after a year-long international investigation. Much of the money he allegedly moved was by hawala, an informal honor-based money transfer system primarily based in the Middle East, east Africa and southern Asia.
According to the US Department of justice’s drug enforcement agency, police in Dubai made a number of searches of his property after his arrest and recovered banking and wire transfer records demonstrating that he was directing money transfers through banks and exchange houses in Dubai, into bank accounts at a finance company in Manhattan. The accounts of the company showed he was involved in “layering,” a money laundering technique designed to disguise the origin of sham commodities trades.
The US government obtained a seizure warrant for the funds in the accounts as property involved in money laundering and this year a district judge ordered the forfeiture to the US of more than $4.3m. A further £1.5m in cash from Naresh’s business dealings has been held around the world.
A two-year investigation in Italy revealed an alleged trail that suggested Naresh was laundering $4m a day, with heroin and terrorism cash coming in through a beauty parlour in Italy. The Italians and Americans say he was at the centre of a sprawling terror network that was taking in money for the Taliban as well as other criminal cartels.
While inquiries were being made into his activities, Naresh was bailed in Dubai – where he faces trial for breaking foreign exchange laws – and fled his business headquarters. He resurfaced in his native India, where authorities raided several properties owned by him and issued an all ports alert.
Two months ago he denied any involvement in money laundering and claimed he was a businessman who was being trapped. Speaking in New Delhi, Naresh said: “I have a factory in South Africa. I supply ready-made garments in Afghanistan and Nepal. I talked to people in Pakistan about purchasing rice.”
December 8, 2022 Published by The Guardian.