A delicate police and Customs operation lasting almost a decade has ended with more than 75 years jail for money launderers based in Yorkshire.
The passing of final sentences has also ended a long ban on reporting details of the case for fear of prejudicing trials and putting the patient work of detectives and financial experts to waste.
Travel agent Shahid Bhatti of Shipley in West Yorkshire was the last to go behind bars for his part in deals involving staggering amounts of plain cash. One money-laundering outfit in Bradford took £3,300,000 in notes in a single day and paid over £80 million into the banks for just one client.
The precise source of much of the money remains to be discovered, but most of it is certain to have come from the smuggling of drugs and cigarettes.
Banknotes seized by police and customs officers at various stages had been contaminated with Class A drugs and one crooked financial deal involving £3,700,000 in cash was traced directly to George Cockerill, of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, a fraudster who was jailed for three years in 2001 and has since died.
Others sent to prison are Liaquat Ali of Birmingham, 12 years, Akhtar Hussain of Keighley, 12 years, James Carr, of Liverpool, 10 years, Faisal Malik of Leeds, 10 years, Amer Ramzan of Halifax, nine years, Mohsan Khan of High Wycombe, five years, Imran Syed of Leeds, four years, Shahel Gazi of Kings Cross, London, two-and-a-half years, and Claire O’Brien of Manchester, two-and-a-half years.