Gold bars worth S$1.2 million smuggled by S'porean woman seized at Heathrow Airport, used for money laundering

The gold bars were destined for Chennai, India.

Belmont Lay | January 28, 2022, 10:38 AM

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A Singaporean woman tried to smuggle £650,000 (S$1.2 million) of gold bars to India via Heathrow Airport in 2020 for organised criminals.

The UK's National Crime Agency on Jan. 22, 2022 was granted seizure of the 15 gold bars as they are found to be linked to an international money laundering network.

Singaporean woman involved

According to The Evening Standard, the female smuggler was transiting through the airport after arriving on a plane from Singapore.

She was headed on an onward flight to Chennai.

She claimed she was taking transporting the gold for a jeweller in Singapore to another one in India.

She had no explanation for her unusual route, Berkshire Live reported.

But her gold bars were seized after law enforcers who decided they were suspected proceeds of crime.

The woman was then allowed to continue on her journey.

Fake invoices

The NCA says investigations revealed the woman was carrying fake invoices for the bars, and the Chennai jeweller did not exist.

Following a two-day hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates, the NCA was awarded forfeiture of the bars under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Investigations debunked woman's claims

Investigations has since revealed that the gold bars belonged to a criminal money laundering network active in Europe and Asia.

Investigators in the UK had worked with their Indian counterparts to disprove the woman's story.

"Gold is an attractive commodity for criminals to use to move money because relatively small amounts can have a high value," NCA Branch Commander Andy Noyes said.

"We think they were attempting to move them through London to try and disguise their routing, and avoid the attentions of Indian law enforcement upon arrival there."

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