Collier Row fraudster imprisoned for his part in £5.9m money laundering plot

Asher Frank and Shazad Malik. Picture: HMRC.

Asher Frank and Shazad Malik. Picture: HMRC. - Credit: Archant

A runaway fraudster who helped launder £5.9m was thwarted by a traffic jam as he attempted to evade capture.

Asher Frank, 40, of Harlow Gardens, Collier Row, and Shazad Malik, 43, of Cairo Road, Walthamstow, have been jailed for a total of eight-and-a-half years.

In a plot designed to legitimise the illegal income, Malik funnelled money through his sham company, Sky Drinks Ltd, on behalf of organised criminals across London and Essex.

Frank, acted as a courier, collecting the cash from underworld associates and paying it into bank accounts controlled by Malik.

The 12-month scam unravelled when HM Revenue and Customs swooped on Frank’s Peugeot in Barking on 26 July 2012.

Frank tried to flee the scene by driving at officers before speeding away – only to be trapped by heavy traffic.

The runaway fraudster was arrested moments later, and more than £70,000 in cash and a paying-in book in the name of Sky Drinks Ltd were discovered in his vehicle.

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In the days before his arrest, Frank was observed by HMRC visiting criminal associates and paying in £360,000 in cash at the ‘quick drop’ facilities of banks in Barking, Dagenham and Romford.

During interview, the 40-year-old said he was simply a courier and hadn’t stopped for HMRC because he believed he was being robbed.

Paul Barton, HMRC assistant director, said: “This was an audacious attempt to launder the proceeds of crime.

“Malik and Frank believed they would go unnoticed moving large amounts of dirty cash around London and Essex.

“They were wrong, and today their greed has cost them their liberty.”

Malik was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison and Frank to three years in prison by His Honour Judge Testar at Southwark Crown Court last Thursday.