The suspect, who is believed to have had ties to a criminal clan in Dubai, had allegedly laundered more than €200 million
Europol and Spanish police arrested”one of Europe’s largest money laundererswho apparently worked for an international drug cartel, during a joint operation, the law enforcement agency said Thursday.
According to Europol, the suspect, believed to have moved more than €200 million ($199 million) in illegal money, was arrested on September 12 in the Spanish city of Malaga as part of an operation led by the Spanish Guardia Civil.
Although the agency’s identity of what it called a “high-quality goalAn AFP source said it was John Francis Morrissey, 62, an employee of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group. According to US authorities, this Dubai-based criminal clan is known for smuggling.deadly narcotics, including cocaine, for Europe, and threatens the entire legal economy through its role in international money laundering.”
The statement went on to say that police have also detained two of his accomplices, with 11 raids in Spain and the United Kingdom.
Europol notes that the prime suspect and his associates collected large amounts of cash from criminal organizations and then delivered it to other criminal gangs in other countries. According to the agency, the would-be criminals transferred money through the hawala underground banking system, which operates face-to-face and does not involve moving physical money.
In order to disguise the source of their income, the suspects created a brand of vodka that is promoted in nightclubs and restaurants in the Malaga area, as well as a number of empty businesses to hide the true identities of people involved in money laundering, says Europol.
The investigation, according to the statement, began late last year when Spanish police seized 200kg of cocaine and €500,000 stored in vehicles with hidden compartments owned by the criminal organization.
The arrest comes after the US Treasury Department sanctioned several top members of the Kinahan clan in April for hindering their financial operations, as well as offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of members.