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Cash as a clue

Service Area: Criminal and Regulatory

Member: Roger Isaacs

A recent case in Yorkshire shows the importance of cash as a clue in forensic investigations. People with large amounts of cash who cannot give a realistic reason for its source may be suspected of having criminal intent. In a recent case, a driver was stopped by police on the M1 and, when the vehicle was checked, the officers found a carrier bag containing £75,000 in cash.

It appears that the car was stopped by a financial investigation unit that had been investigating a passenger suspected of being involved in criminal activity, possibly involving money laundering.

Money laundering is an offence in its own right and is also closely related to other forms of serious and organised crime, as well as the financing of terrorism. In addition to organised criminal groups, professional money launderers perform charge to clean the proceeds of crime so that it appears to be legitimate.

The scale of money laundering globally is huge, with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimating that between 2 and 5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) is laundered annually, accounting for up to €1.87 trillion.

In this context, £75,000 is a drop in the ocean but, may lead to more significant findings.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “While electronic transfers leave a clear trail for investigators to follow, cash tends to leave a much less clear trail.

“Although Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being used ever-more commonly by criminal organisations, cash remains the preferred means of exchange for many.”
Author: Roger Isaacs
2 June 2020

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