Men jailed for smuggling £7million in cash out of UK airports

£180,000 cash was seized at Stansted Airport. Credit: NCA

Three men have been jailed for smuggling more than £7 million cash on over 80 flights from airports including Stansted.

Two Albanian brothers organised travel for four others who acted as couriers by carrying large amounts of cash in their luggage.

Over 80 trips were made by the group between November 2016 and January 2018 to countries including Belgium and Greece for onward transportation to Albania.

Faton Syberi, Gjelosh Kolicaj and Jak Kolicaj. Credit: NCA

Gjelosh Kolicaj, 37, and Jak Kolicaj, 47, drove the couriers to the airport and waited until they had checked in the suitcase before leaving.

In September 2017, £180,000 was seized from Faton Syberi as he attempted to travel to Thessaloniki from Stansted airport.

Cash was found wrapped in brown packaging in a plastic carrier bag, concealed in a second, inner suitcase.

In October 2017, £100,000 was seized from Dumitru Tanase at Gatwick airport who was also due to fly to Thessaloniki.

Gjelosh Kolicaj and Faton Syberi both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to remove criminal property from the UK.

Jak Kolicaj was found guilty of conspiracy to remove criminal property from the UK.

Jak Kolicaj, Gjelosh Kolicaj and Faton Syberi were sentenced to eight years, six years, and two years and five months respectively.

The cash was concealed in a second inner suitcase. Credit: NCA

Aaron Chappell, from the National Crime Agency (NCA), said: “This group made a significant number of journeys out of the UK with large amounts of cash destined for Albania.

“Organised crime groups rely on money launderers like these men, to benefit from their crime and re-invest in further criminality.

“Disrupting the flow of illicit money is a priority for the NCA and by removing launderers from the chain we significantly inhibit the illegal activity of a much wider criminal network.”