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Gold dealer deposited £265M in ‘used notes' - "blindingly obvious"proceed of crime prosecutor claims

A British court has heard shocking details of one of the country's largest alleged money laundering operations, with a gold dealer depositing more than £265 million in "used notes" into a NatWest account.

The trial heard that between January 2014 and September 2016, more than £265 million in cash and unknown deposits were paid into Fowler Oldfield's NatWest bank account in Bradford.

Following reports that couriers deposited funds using plastic carrier bags and holdalls, prosecutor Nicholas Clark QC told the court it was "blindingly obvious" that cash deposited to the bank came from criminal activity.

The gold dealer's daily deposits, according to the court, are equivalent to match day takings from a Premier League football club, prompting police to be alerted.

Five defendants are linked to Fowler Oldfield, including James Stunt, the former husband of motor racing heiress Petra Ecclestone, who is on trial for one count of money laundering.

Following a "dramatic transformation" to the company in 2013, prosecutor Clark told the court that the gold dealer had evolved into a "vehicle for very substantial money laundering of criminal cash."

The defendants allegedly washed cash through bank accounts and used the proceeds to buy gold, depositing more than £266 million in cash over a two-year period.

The trial will last for four months.

NatWest was fined £265 million in December for its role, with one outgoing manager describing the activity as the most "suspicious money laundering" he had ever seen.



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