Cameron Brown QC, leading Ben Holt of 5kbw, has successfully prosecuted two men who headed up an international money laundering network, responsible for laundering over £70 million.
£10m of that laundering came from fraudulent Bounce Back Loans, in what is believed to be one of the largest ever Bounce Back Loan frauds, following the introduction of the government backed pandemic business loan scheme in 2020.
Artem Terzyan, 38, from Russia and Deivis Grochiatskij, 44, from Lithuania, were the focus of a four-year investigation which began in October 2017 by the Organised Crime Partnership – a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service unit. Financial investigators had analysed hundreds of bank accounts controlled by Terzyan and Grochiatskij and were able to evidence that the men had laundered a total of £36m in 2017-2018, with £16m of that coming from cash deposits.
While on bail, the pair began to exploit the Government’s Covid-19 support scheme by laundering the proceeds of dishonestly obtained fraudulent Bounce Back Loans (BBL) through the various shell companies they had set up. Between June 2018 and November 2020, when the pair were arrested again, they had laundered a further £34m, including the £10m generated from the BBLs.
Terzyan and Grochiatskij were each charged with two counts of money laundering, for which they were found guilty following a seven-week trial at Kingston CC in September 2021. Both were jailed for a total of 33 years. Their sentences are believed to be some of the largest ever handed down for money laundering in the UK. Fraudsters claimed up to £50,000 of BBL funs each time, generating over £10m in total. £3.2m of that was claimed from one UK bank alone.
On sentencing the two men, HHJ Shetty noted that their exploitation of the BBL scheme played a part in “undermining the Government and financial institutions” and that the “the British taxpayer will be staggered and upset that part of their hard-earned tax contributions was going into the pockets of criminals.”