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Businessman jailed for laundering drug money

November 19, 2012, 5:16 pm

A Rochdale businessman who laundered hundreds of thousands of pounds of a drug dealer’s illegal gains has been jailed.

Ian Nigel Duncan Cole (17/05/1961), of Kirkhill Avenue, Haslingdon, admitted four counts of money laundering, one count of fraud and separate offence of perverting the course of justice.

Today, Monday 19 November 2012, at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, he was jailed for a total five and a half years.

He been also been banned from being a company director for seven years.

A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) investigation into his finances is ongoing.

In June 2008, GMP’s Drugs Unit began Operation Walrus, an investigation into an organised crime gang (OCG) based in Oldham that were involved in the sale and supply of drugs.

During the operation 27 kilos of heroin, ¼ kilo of cocaine and three commercial cannabis farms, with an estimated street value of £2.5m, were recovered.

Mohammed Farid (30/09/73), of Wellington Road, Oldham, was identified as being at the head of the OCG. He was jailed for 17-years-and-five months in June 2012, for drugs and money laundering offences.

As part of the operation a thorough financial investigation was launched into the gang’s finances.

Investigators soon established that Cole was a significant player in the laundering of drug money.

Cole ran numerous businesses in Rochdale, including three car lease companies: Translease Uk Ltd, Network North West and NET Security.

Cole admitted:

– Laundering £90,000 of Farid’s drug money in order to help him (Farid) purchase the Big Café business on Silver Street, Oldham.
– Laundering £35,000 of Farid’s drug money for the attempted purchase by Farid of 1C Denmark Street, Oldham. This sale did not go through.
– Laundering £97,000 of Farid’s drug money between March and May 2009.
– Giving Farid £37,000 of laundered drug money.

Farid was also on the payroll of Translease Uk Ltd, receiving £1,500 per month. The fraud offence relates to Cole changing his pay slips to show him being paid £5,000 per month. This was to allow Farid to purchase a £350,000 bungalow at Helmcroft, Rossendale.

A receiver has now been appointed to Cole’s businesses, which will either be sold or wound up and its assets sold, with the money going towards a confiscation order.

Translease UK Ltd in particular has a fleet of about 200 prestige cars, including Aston Martins, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Audis.

Senior Financial Investigator Adrian Ladkin, said: “Cole was Farid’s go-to-man who offered him a successful money laundering service.

“He willingly laundered hundreds of thousands of pounds of drugs money that allowed Farid to build up an impressive property portfolio.

“Due to a diligent and thorough criminal and financial investigation, both men have now been jailed and we will be going after all their available assets, whether that is homes, cash or businesses, to make sure we hit them where it hurts the most: in their pockets.

“We are coming down hard on organised crime gangs that cause upset and misery to our communities and this case proves that there is no hiding place. We can and we will uncover those crooks who parade as legitimate businessmen and when we expose you expect to lose your liberty and wealth.”

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