A Malaysian air steward has been jailed for 12 months for money laundering in Britain after he was caught trying to smuggle £150,000 (RM807,300) in cash out of the country.
The National Crime Agency (NCA), a British law enforcement agency, reported that Muhamad Aziz, 37, had been sentenced to 12 months’ jail after pleading guilty to money laundering charges at the Isleworth Crown Court last Thursday (Nov 22).
The report said Muhamad Aziz was about to fly on a flight from London to Kuala Lumpur when he was stopped by security officers at Heathrow Terminal 4 airport.
It said the officer then had alerted Border Force personnel after they found £100,000 (RM538,200) cash in a roller bag and £50,000 (RM269,100) in a black suit carrier when they were scanning his bags.
According to the report, Muhamad Aziz claimed he had brought the money in from abroad into the UK.
He also said he had initially wanted to spend the money on handbags and watches in Harrods, a department store.
However, Muhamad Aziz claimed that he was unable to spend the money as he was “too tired”.
The report added that he had also refused to explain two receipts he had from apparel store Primark, which was issued on the same day, including a customer registration card from a Malaysian money exchange bureau.
The report added that the Heathrow NCA operations manager Ian Truby had said that Muhamad Aziz’s story was “so far fetched as to be almost laughable”.
“He was a cabin crew member for 15 years and would well have known the regulations about carrying cash into and out of the country. It seems that he decided to use that employment as a cover for his criminality.
“Organised criminals rely on cash couriers like Muhamad Aziz to move their profits around – his was a key role in a long criminal chain – so tackling this illicit flow of money is a priority for us and our partners.
“The money found here will be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act,” Truby was quoted as saying.
According to the report, Heathrow Border Force director Nick Jariwalla had said the cash which was forfeited would be returned to the public’s coffers.