Computer dealers charged in £100m money laundering case

Not terrorist-related

Five computer component dealers, and three others, are to appear in court charged with laundering £100 million for criminals around the world.

Customs officers arrested the eight and seized £200,000 during searches of businesses and homes on Tuesday 30 October.

The charges follow an investigation by Customs into London businesses believed to be laundering money under the cover of a computer firm and the Hawalla informal banking system. Both are thought to have used electronic transfers to move money around the world.

Of the five computer industry people, three are directors of Tai Computers Ltd, a computer hardware company based at Minerva Business Centre, London NW10; one is the director of Cybocity PLC, a computer chip company; and the last is an employee of Cybocity.

All eight, seven men and one woman, have been charged with money laundering offences under the Drugs Trafficking Act 1994 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988. They expected at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court today, Thursday 1 November.

Customs stresses that the investigation is related to the proceeds of crime and drugs, and not terrorist funds. ®

The charged are:

  • Ketan Thakrar, director of Cybocity PLC, Marlborough House, 159 High Street, Harrow. Residing at Waverley Road, Rayners Lane, Middlesex
  • Maryam Mahdavi-Rad, an employee of Cybocity, residing at Ludlow Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Hampstead, N2
  • Kaushik Tailor, director of Tai Computers Ltd, Minerva Business Centre, Minerva Road NW10, residing at Lynbridge Gardens, Palmers Green, N13
  • Rajesh Tailor, director of Tai Computers, residing at Lynton Road, Harrow, HA2
  • Rajnikant Tailor, director of Tai Computers, residing at Arbour Close, Luton, Beds, LU13
  • Javad Ghotbi-Ravandi, a money-broker and director of Rvandi Trade and Finance Co Ltd based at 24 North Audley Street, London, and residing at Buttermere Court, Boundary Road, St Johns Wood, NW8
  • Gholam Ali Sacki, employee of Rvandi Trade and Finance Co Ltd, residing at Evesham Road London, N11
  • Hooshang Lanjani Abbaspour of Ludlow Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London N2



Update

Mr. Ravandi and Mr. Sacki were acquitted of all charges of money laundering at Harrow Crown Court in November 2003. The five computer dealers pleaded guilty to conducting missing trader VAT fraud. Ms Mahdavi-Rad was acquitted on all charges.