Edgware trio lose bid to retrieve £300,000 suspected ‘criminal cash’

A couple and their business associate have lost an appeal to claim back more than £300,000 in seized cash which police suspect is linked to crime.

In January 2018, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Met Police seized a total of £306,805.

More than £200,000 was discovered at the home of husband and wife Sailesh and Harkit Singara in Edgware.

Police officers found around half of the money neatly stacked on a bed with another £100,000 in a suitcase on the floor.

The NCA says a further £100,000 was found in a bag in the possession of Sailesh Mandalia, a business associate of Mr Singara.

All of the money was seized when investigators applied for a forfeiture order – a civil process intended to recover illicit cash when there has been no proven criminal offence.

The order was granted at Westminster Magistrates Court in October 2019, with Mr and Mrs Singara and Mr Mandalia told to pay combined court costs of £1,895.

However, the order was appealed by the trio, who collectively own two money service businesses.

They said the cash was intended for legitimate business accounts, and that “poor accounting over several years” was responsible for any confusion.

But at Southwark Crown Court on September 10 this year, the appeal was dismissed and court costs were increased to £4,350.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony O’Sullivan, head of the organised crime partnership (OCP), said: “While the three individuals are not accused, and have not been convicted, of any crime in relation to these events, the £300,000 recovered will now go into the public purse where it can positively impact on communities.

“Money is at the heart of organised crime, and it is vital that those in possession of huge sums of cash can account for it legitimately.

“We at the OCP continue to tackle the criminality that generates illicit cash in London and beyond.”

Rachael Herbert, head of threat response at the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), added: “Some money service businesses (MSBs) continue to pose a risk to the UK by facilitating the movement of illicit cash.

“The NECC and its partners have developed an increased understanding of this threat, which is enabling more effective action against suspicious MSBs while supporting legitimate businesses.”

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