A MONEY laundering network led by a former Guardia Civil has been dismantled in Barcelona.
The network, believed to have laundered around €8 million, was busted by the Customs Surveillance service of the Tax Office.
The Tax Office said in a statement that the home of the former Guardia Civil was searched and €1.26 million in cash was found, later €3.95 million was found on premises belonging to the same man. It was placed in five suitcases.
The investigation began in 2018 following a report from one of the people who had been involved with the network, regarding a group including port workers, transporters and the former Guardia Civil officer who were said to be removing containers from the port without the knowledge of the customs department.
The network removed high-value merchandise such as perfume, household appliances and tobacco. He also claimed that the former officer had made significant real estate investments with his partner with the proceeds of the illegal activity.
The Customs Surveillance Money Laundering group began to trace the trail of real estate activity and bank accounts, finding that there was a significant increase in their assets and that at least three other people and four companies were taking part in the money laundering through loans and other financial schemes.
It was discovered that money had also been invested in restaurants and cafés, businesses in which large amounts of money are handled.
The defendants reached an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office in June 2019, admitting to smuggling at Barcelona port. Premises were searched and as a result, 78 financial products were blocked, bank accounts frozen and 18 properties, with a joint value of more than €3 million, have been seized.
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