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Romford man among gang jailed for £15million alcohol fraud

PUBLISHED: 17:21 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:21 25 April 2016

Cash seized by HM Revenue and Customs

Cash seized by HM Revenue and Customs

Archant

A criminal gang caught with bundles of illicit cash made from selling alcohol illegally has been jailed for a total of 19 years.

The gang, including Steve Randall, 44, of Glenton Close, Romford, was charged with concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property.

Randall and his accomplices were arrested after HM Revenue and Customs investigators found that two businesses, allegedly selling alcohol outside the UK, were in fact being used to launder illicit cash made from selling alcohol illegally in the UK without paying excise duty or VAT.

Louca Christos Louca, 51, of Kent, was arrested on October 24 2011 after investigators discovered almost £100,000 cash in his car.

The following day Gary Bissenden, 50, of Kent and Lucy Buckingham, 30, of East Grinstead, West Sussex, were arrested in an East Grinstead car park.

Bissenden was carrying a holdall containing nearly £160,000 in cash. A further £17,750 and 11,000 euros were found at his then home in Herne Bay.

From November 1 2010 to February 3 2012, £15 million in proceeds from illegal alcohol sales was transferred from the business accounts of Saffire Trading Ltd and Eurolink Trading Ltd to their main supplier.

Randall, director of Saffire Trading Ltd, was jailed for six years and disqualified from being a company director for six years at Sourthwark Crown Court on April 22.

Louca, director of Eurolink Trading Ltd, was jailed for seven years and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Bissenden, who had delivered the cash to Saffire Trading Ltd and Eurolink Trading Ltd, was jailed for three years.

Buckingham, who faked documents to facilitate the crimes, was jailed for three years and disqualified from being a company director for five years.

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