Front companies, fraudulently opened bank accounts… The set-up was complex. But he allowed this network to launder a tidy sum of money, probably resulting from hidden work. At the end of a investigation quickly carried out by the police officers of the Central Office for the Suppression of Major Financial Crime (OCRGDF ) of the judicial police, six people were indicted during December. Three of them, including a man of 20 suspected of being the head of this organization, were placed in pre-trial detention. others being under judicial control.
The investigation began last September, when the police were alerted by the manager of a consulting company which helps entrepreneurs to set up their company. “It was regularly requested by a person of Pakistani nationality. And he quickly noticed that the files he presented each time contained the identity papers of company managers whose photos were obviously recycled, ”explains Commissioner Julien Bataille, deputy head of the OCRGDF. The suspect presented him with “Italian, Spanish or Belgian passports, with the same face but with different identities.”
37 companies, 85 bank accounts
An investigation is then opened under the ‘aegis of an investigating judge of the GIR of Paris . After dissecting the accounts of these companies, wiretapping and physically monitoring the suspects, the police are able to understand how this money laundering network works. “There is a network head who, once the companies were registered, asked accomplices to find straw managers and to open associated bank accounts all over France”, continues Commissioner Bataille. Two men are arrested by the PJ of Toulouse while they were trying to open an account in a Crédit Lyonnais branch.
The police officers counted 37 public companies and 85 associated professional accounts , through which several million euros have passed. “Either the money was transferred to personal bank accounts before being withdrawn in cash in order to pay people working illegally, or it was transferred to accounts abroad”, adds the police officer, stressing that approximately 500. 000 euros thus left French territory. On 13 December, the investigators took action and arrested four other suspects at their homes located in the Paris region.
A package sold to other launderers
Placed in custody, the man suspected of being the head of this network has recognized the facts. To open these companies, he used false identity documents obtained from suppliers based in Italy. He then approached people from the Pakistani community, to whom he offered to become straw managers. For this mission, they were paid 1. 000 euros per month in cash. “He was selling a package to other launderers from the Pakistani community: they had these companies available to sell funds whose origin is unjustified”, observes Julien Bataille.
In this case, justice has already seized 335. euros. A start, since 64 international seizure measures are being carried out.