LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Three men previously sentenced after pleading guilty to twenty charges of breaching immigration laws have today [13.9.07] been ordered to pay a £2,301,000 confiscation order at Isleworth Crown Court.
The confiscation order follows a financial investigation by detectives from the Met’s London Regional Asset Recovery Team.
Harry Peter WILSON (born in Zimbabwe) [1/9/59 – 48 ys] of Thicket Road, London SE20 was ordered to pay £285,000 within one year or face four years imprisonment in default.
Arumagan KANAGESWARAN (born Sri Lanka) [22/4/51 – 56 ys] of Links Road, Tooting, SW17 was ordered to pay £416,000 within one year or face five years imprisonment in default.
Ponndouri PUVANANDARAN (born in Sri Lanka) [18/12/54 – 52 ys] of Gateside Road, Tooting,SW17 was ordered to pay £1,600,000 within 18 months or face eight years imprisonment in default.
Trevor Shepherd, Met’s Economic and Specialist Crime Command said: “Today’s success is the result of a long and complex investigation by the London Regional Asset Recovery Team and is one of the largest confiscation orders associated with people trafficking.
“Under ‘incentivisation’ a significant proportion of the confiscated monies will be returned to police to fund future investigations and reduce harm to London’s communities.
“This case, which has seen London RART and Maxim working together with partner agencies, demonstrates the Met’s ongoing commitment to dismantling criminal networks and seizing their assets.”
On 19.10.05 at Isleworth CC Wilson, Puvanandaran and Kanageswaran were sentenced regarding twenty charges of breaching immigration laws following a joint investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service and South African Police.
Wilson was sentenced to three years and two months and Puvanandaran and Kanageswaran were sentenced to two years and 10 months each at Isleworth Crown Court.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Maxim, Specialist Intelligence Section Project Reflex (SIS) and the South African Police jointly investigated the criminal activities of these three men:
WILSON, assisted by PUVANANDARAN and KANAGESWARAN, was arranging for the facilitation of illegal immigrants to travel to the UK and then apply for leave to remain indefinitely.
In order to succeed, Wilson was supplying false information to the Home Office who in turn were being deceived into granting visas to stay to the applicants.
In March 2003, it became evident that Wilson, a Zimbabwean national was smuggling people into the UK on false documentation. He was known throughout Zimbabwe and South Africa as the person who could arrange for people to travel to London and assist them in successfully applying for leave to stay in the UK. This would be while they apparently undertook accountancy courses, which would take several years to complete. He touted for his businesses in hotels in Zimbabwe and London.
As a result officers from REFLEX and the Met’s Operation Maxim undertook an investigation codenamed Taming, into these criminal activities with a view to arresting Wilson, Puvanandaran and Kanageswaran.
Running in parallel was a financial investigation into Wilson and his associates by the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) with a view to tracing the financial benefits of their criminal activities. Following extensive enquiries it became evident that all three were aware of a substantial of legislation concerning disclosure and associated money-laundering offences.
Despite this a substantial amount in assets has been identified.
Detectives became aware the network had purchased several properties in London and Zimbabwe. Likewise they were the owners of several expensive cars and took frequent trips to Zimbabwe and South Africa. His properties in Zimbabwe included a hotel with gambling facilities.
Wilson and his associates had acquired British citizenship and were in possession of British Passports.
It was also discovered that Wilson was working closely with his associates Puvanandran known as Mr Dran and Kangeswaran, who were the Principals of the London Schools Of Accountancy based in Tooting SW17. In order for his criminal enterprise to succeed, Wilson stated in the application form, which he completed on behalf of the illegal immigrants that he would provide them with accommodation and £500 per month living expenses. He also stated that the applicants were associated with the medical profession and were now in London to study accountancy, which took many years to qualify in. To support this claim Mr Dran and Kanagswaren supported the application with a document stating that they as the Principal of the colleges had provided the applicant with a place at their colleges and supported the applications.
With the assistance of colleagues from the United Kingdom Immigration Service (UKIS) the Immigration Nationality Directorate and the United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) it became apparent that they had applied for visa’s for at least 150 applicants in 2003. It was also discovered that as well as the majority of the applicants being from Zimbabwe there were also others from South Africa and Jamaica.
It became evident that the victims either knew Wilson from Zimbabwe or had learnt of his reputation and contacted him in Zimbabwe or on his mobile telephone once they had arrived in London. He had stated that for £1200 per person he could provide them with a visa in order that they could remain in the country indefinitely. These people had no knowledge of how to make the application themselves and had been convinced by Wilson that he knew what he was doing and it was lawful.
RART – The London Regional Asset Recovery Team is a multi agency team within the Met’s Economic and Specialist Crime Command (SCD6) made up mainly of officers and staff from the Met police, but also with staff from HM Revenue and Customs, City of London Police, Asset Recovery Agency, serious Organised Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service. It is part of a national network of teams set up by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers. The teams provide a multi-agency response to asset recovery by supporting investigations into criminals suspected of drug-related and other serious and organised crimes.
Operation Maxim is the Metropolitan Police’s response to organised crime abusing the UK’s immigration system. The team of specialist detective and police staff work closely in partnership with agencies such as the Identity and Passport Service and Border & Immigration Agency to disrupt such criminal networks. As part of the Met’s Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD), Operation Maxim is within SCD’s Economic & Specialist Crime Command.
Confiscation – A confiscation order made under the Proceeds of Crime, Criminal Justice, or Drug Trafficking Acts (POCA, CJA or DTA) does not confiscate assets! It imposes a debt on the defendant equal to the value of his property. It is then up to the defendant to settle the debt with the enforcing magistrates court. Judges normally allow a time to sell assets and they also set a default prison sentence in case the debt is not settled.