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Featured Image Credit: Metropolitan Police
The force said that the seizure was part of a 'long running operation against gun crime and large scale Class A drugs supply across London', with three money launderers sentenced yesterday (Friday 28 May) at Harrow Crown Court after pleading guilty last year to conspiracy to conceal/disguise/convert/transfer/remove criminal property.
According to the Evening Standard, police said the cash was stacked up at the flat because the gang 'didn't know what to do with it', as lockdown had stopped them being able to take it out of the country.
The outlet reports that Detective Superintendent Jason Prins, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: "Covid had really exacerbated their problem of how to get rid of money."
The money was found when undercover officers stopped Ruslan Shamsutdinov as he exited an address in Porteus Apartments, Fulham, on Friday 5 June 2020.
He was 'noticeably struggling to carry heavy bags', which were found to contain a 'considerable' amount of cash.
A search of the apartment then unveiled a further stash, with the total amount seized being £5,082,026.17, before an extra €39,000 and £8,038.81 was found at the home address of Shamsutdinov.
He was sentenced yesterday to three years and nine months' imprisonment, while money launderer Sergejs Auzins was sentenced to three years and four months' imprisonment.
A third man, Serwan Ahmadi, was also sentenced to one year and eight months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.
In a statement, Prins said: "As part of a long running operation against gun crime and large scale Class A drugs supply across London, over five million pounds in criminal cash was seized from an address in Fulham. This is the largest ever single cash seizure by the Met and I believe one of the largest ever nationally.
"Organised crime is motivated by money and is one of the biggest causes of violence on our streets. Tackling this violence is our main priority. This seizure, and the conviction of these men for laundering that money, will have a major impact on the ability of a number of crime groups to carry on with their activities."