Millionaire sentenced for laundering £800k out of home
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:14 17 July 2019
A millionaire has avoided jail for running an illegal money service business from his Isle of Dogs home after laundering more than £800,000 from the sale of designer clothes.
Shunjian Jiang. who was of Maritime Court but now lives in Colindale, bought luxury fashion items to order before sending them to China.
The 28-year-old's customers paid in yuan which he used in an illegal money service business (MSB), advertising on internet forums offering to exchange sterling to the Chinese currency for ex-pats in the UK.
On sentencing, His Honour Judge Pegden said: "You acted as a money exchanger plainly in a business capacity. Very large sums of money came from China to the UK.
"Sterling, by hundreds of transactions, went into various accounts enabling you to purchase a property in north London.
"The money you exchanged became criminal property because the business was not registered and I sentence you solely on that basis."
Investigators from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were alerted to the fraud after finding suspicious activity on his bank records.
He was arrested in August 2016 after officers searched his Isle of Dogs flat and found £50,000 worth of designer clothes.
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Southwark Crown Court heard that Jiang had spent £465,000 on clothing and operated from January 1, 2015 until his arrest. His fraud totalled £805,824.
He deposited between £1,000 and £6,000 into bank accounts across the UK. Investigators found he failed to register as an MSB with HMRC.
Richard Mayer, assistant director of HMRC's fraud investigation service, said: "Jiang handled considerable sums of money to purchase a property and maintain his UK lifestyle.
"He also exploited the "grey" market in China and its demand for genuine designer clothes.
"People using unregistered MSBs should be aware these businesses can and are being used to launder money. HMRC is determined to crack down on this type of criminal activity."
Jiang pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to operating an un-registered MSB and on July 12 was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
He will have to do 160 hours of unpaid community work.
Jiang moved to the UK on a Tier 1 visa requiring an investment of £1million when he moved to the UK in 2014.
HMRC has started confiscation proceedings to recover the money which could see Jiang's home seized.
Anyone with information about illegal MSBs should call HMRC's fraud hotline on 0800 788 887 or visit its website.