Chinese money launderer is ordered to repay almost £400,000

Fen Chen, 32, was caught paying an astonishing £2.8million into high street banks for the organised criminal gang

Fen Chen, 32, was caught paying an astonishing £2.8million into high street banks for the organised criminal gang

A money launderer who deposited millions into high street banks has become the latest to be ordered to repay her ill-gotten gains.

Fen Chen, her friend Ying Lin, 27, and two associates took bundles of bank notes into dozens of London banks amounting to £2.8million between 30 July and 15 August 2016.  

The 32-year-old was jailed for six years and three months in November last year. 

NCA officers arrested her shortly after she accepted a bag containing more than £300,000 from Albanian Fation Koka, 30, in the car park of an Asda supermarket in Park Royal, north west London, in August 2016.

Koka was jailed for 21 months and will be deported upon completion of his sentence. Lin was deported after serving a 14-month sentence.

Chen, of Park Royal, agreed to hand over £317,487 at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.

NCA financial investigations manager Mark Bannon said: 'Fen Chen was a prolific money launderer and criminals like her are at the centre of serious and organised crime because they enable other high end criminals to clean their money.

Officers from the National Crime Agency  arrested her shortly after she accepted a bag containing more than £300,000 from Albanian Fation Koka, 30, in the car park of an Asda supermarket in Park Royal, north west London, in August 2016

Officers from the National Crime Agency  arrested her shortly after she accepted a bag containing more than £300,000 from Albanian Fation Koka, 30, in the car park of an Asda supermarket in Park Royal, north west London, in August 2016

'Money laundering is a priority threat for the NCA.

'Pursuing confiscation orders on top of criminal convictions is a weapon we can use to hit offenders in the pocket.

'We will keep hunting for any more assets Chen has.'

Cops also found £180,000 cash was discovered in bags and hiding places at Fen's flat, and a cash counting machine.

Text messages were also found on phones which showed another cash handover took place in the same car park on July 31, 2016.

Another £180,000 cash was discovered in bags and hiding places at Fen's flat along with bank slips detailing hundreds of deposits totalling £1.8 million

Fation Koka

Another £180,000 cash was discovered in bags and hiding places at Fen's flat along with bank slips detailing hundreds of deposits totalling £1.8 million. Pictured right: Fation Koka

Chen was convicted of four counts of money laundering at Kingston Crown Court and in November was jailed for a total six years and three months.

At the time, NCA operations manager Kevin Gee said: 'Fen Chen was a prolific money launderer, able to process millions of pounds in cash in a very short period of time.

'Chen was caught red handed in possession of around £300,000 belonging to an Albanian drugs gang.

'Organised crime groups rely on money launderers like Chen, who play an integral part in allowing them to benefit from and re-invest their criminal profits.

'Taking money launderers out of the chain, as we have done here, makes life far more difficult and more risky for crooks trying to clean their dirty cash.'

It comes after three drugs traffickers who were jailed for 83 years over a plot to bring 500 kilos of heroin to the UK were last July told to hand over almost £1.4 million.

Mohammed Farooq, 51, Homayon Mehrpoor, 61, and Ahmad Shah, 44, were part of a conspiracy to smuggle heroin – concealed in vegetables and bed linen – with a street value of £306m into the UK.

Catherine Farooq, Ahmad Shah, Homayon Mehrpoor and Mohammed Farooq.

Mohammed Farooq, 51, left, along with two associates, was part of a conspiracy to smuggle heroin into the UK concealed in vegetables and bed linen. Farooq's wife Catherine Farooq, right, was jailed for nine months for money laundering 

Canadian national Mehrpoor, left, and Shah, right, from Pakistan, were earlier told to repay £346,519 and £389,018 respectively

In 2013 they were given respective prison sentences of 29 years, 25 years and 29 years and Farooq’s wife Catherine Farooq, 55, was jailed for nine months for money laundering.

Farooq was ordered to repay £642,981 at Birmingham Crown Court, after Canadian national Mehrpoor and Shah, from Pakistan, were earlier told to repay £346,519 and £389,018 respectively. 

Raj Parmar, senior financial officer at the NCA’s Economic Crime Command, said: “These confiscations show that it doesn’t matter how long it takes, law enforcement will work to trace criminals’ assets and take them.

“Retaining their illegal profits is very often the only source of comfort crooks have.

“The orders are substantial and continue to hurt Farooq, Mehrpoor and Shah after already receiving large jail terms.'

The £4million a year drugs trade and why the gangs deposit their huge hauls in cash 

The NCA has the monumental task on its hands of bringing down the estimated 5,800 organised crime groups. Pictured: Stacks of cash recovered from one Albanian gang's drug supply business 

The NCA has the monumental task on its hands of bringing down the estimated 5,800 organised crime groups. Pictured: Stacks of cash recovered from one Albanian gang's drug supply business 

Drug gangs generally prefer to use cash to deposit vast sums of money, because it is 'relatively untraceable, readily exchangeable and anonymous', says the NCA.

The social and economic costs of serious organised crime, including drug supply and money laundering, are estimated to be £24 billion a year, while the UK drugs market is worth around £4 billion a year. 

The NCA has the monumental task on its hands of bringing down the estimated 5,800 organised crime groups - comprised of around 40,600 individuals - who were operating in the UK as of December 2014

An influx of Albanian drugs gang members who have flocked to Britain have seen them take control of much of the UK cocaine supply. 

Ministry of Justice figures in March revealed there were 726 offenders from the Balkan state behind bars last year – up from 267 in 2013.

Major players include Khalad Uddin, 35, who was jailed for 16 years last June

Major players include Khalad Uddin, 35, who was jailed for 16 years last June

Albanians now make up the third largest foreign group jailed in England and Wales,

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