British 'Instaglam' girl facing jail over millions flown to crime mecca Dubai stuffed in suitcases
A British recruitment consultant is facing a lengthy jail spell after admitting flying £3.5 million from the UK to Dubai and trying to get a further nearly £2 million out there.
Tara Hanlon, 30, (pictured above) from Pelham Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, was charged with money laundering after five suitcases filled with more than £1.9 million in cash (pictured below) was found at Heathrow Airport on October 3 2020.
Last year she pleaded not guilty to removing criminal property from the country and was due to stand trial.
However, today, at Isleworth Crown Court she pleaded guilty to four charges.
She denied being involved in a conspiracy with other persons unknown to remove criminal proceeds from the country between July and October last year.
However, she admitted to the offences of flying £1.4 million out of the country on July 14, £1.1 million on August 10 and £1 million on August 10.
She also admitted to attempting fly the £1.9 million out on October 3 when caught at Heathrow.
The CPS said it will not pursue a trial in connection with the conspiracy charge.
Hanlon (below) was initially remanded in custody but later released on bail and appeared in court today via video link from her solicitor's office.
Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh warned her that prison was inevitable when she is sentenced next month and stressed she must turn up or face further charges.
He said: "This was serious money laundering - millions of pounds. There will be a prison sentence, you must be ready for that, so bring a bag.
"It may be tempting not to attend as you know what is going to happen, but if you fail to attend because you are worried about the consequences, you will be committing a further crime office and there will be a consecutive sentence which will make your situation worse."
Hanlon was arrested at about 8pm on October 3 last year along with a 28-year-old woman from Doncaster, who was released under investigation and not named.
An NCA spokesman said the woman remains under investigation.
The haul was the largest cash seizure at the UK border in 2020.
Hanlon has appeared in several glamourous images on social media accounts, including Instagram and Facebook, and is described by relatives as a "party girl."
According to a former Linkedin account (pictured above) she was Operations Manager at Leeds recruitment consultancy firm Goodall Brazier.
A spokesman for the firm said: "This is an ongoing police investigation therefore it is not appropriate for us to comment at this time."
UK immigration minister Chris Philp said at the time of her arrest: “This is the largest individual cash seizure at the border so far in 2020 and I am delighted with the efforts of Border Force officers.
“Preventing the export of undeclared cash from the UK is a vital step in clamping down on organised criminal gangs.”
A pre-sentence report is being prepared ahead of her sentence next month.
It is not clear who the organised criminals Hanlon (below) was laundering for are, but the investigation, which was sparked by her arrest continues.
The NCA believes it is connected to a £50 million international money laundering racket.
Last month, officers arrested three men and eight women aged 18 to 48 in a series of co-ordinated raids across Britain on Tuesday, in London, Surrey, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
All have been released under investigation while the probe continues.
The couriers are believed to be paid thousands of pounds each time for making the journeys.
A month after Hanlon was arrested, Zdenek Kamaryt, 38, a Czech citizen, (pictured below) was arrested at the same airport as he prepared to fly to Dubai.
He was found with more than £1.3 million in cash vacuum-packed in three suitcases that he had checked in for the flight.
Another £50,000 was found in his hand luggage, including bundles of £50 notes stuffed inside pairs of socks. Police described it as a “brazen attempt” to take money out the country as his bags carried little other than cash (pictured below).
He was identified as having made two previous trips in July and August.
Kamaryt pleaded guilty to money laundering offences and was jailed for two years in March.
Czech national Michala Repperova, 26, was initially charged with money laundering after being arrsted with Kamaryt, but the case against her was later dropped.
Ian Truby, a senior officer at the National Crime Agency, said: “Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime. Organised crime groups need to launder it so they invest it in further criminality.
“Our investigation identified millions of pounds of what we suspect are criminal profits being flown out of the UK to be laundered.
“What we have seen is huge shipments of cash, with couriers carrying multiple suitcases, with up to half a million pounds in each case.”
We asked the NCA if it was aware who the couriers have been laundering money for and if any arrests of anyone higher up the chain have been made.
The NCA spokesman said: "The investigation is ongoing so it would not be appropriate to comment further."