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British mum wanted from Dubai over money laundering ring 'fleeced Sky of £146K on credit card'

A BRITISH mum wanted for questioning about her suspected key role in an international money laundering ring that flew more than £100m cash out of the UK was sacked from Sky for allegedly fleecing it out of more than £146,000, Essex News and Investigations can reveal.

Michelle Clarke, 42, (above and below) is wanted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) as it continues to investigate the ring that used young glamorous British couriers, many of whom lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, to fly proceeds of UK organised crime gangs out in suitcases on business class flights.

Clarke is still understood to be holed up in Dubai, where she flew to in September 2020, along with three other Britons also wanted by the NCA in connection with the probe.

An NCA spokesman said: "There are arrest warrants for four people in Dubai, including Michelle Clarke."

Clarke, a former Sky PA, is suspected of recruiting many of around 40 couriers who flew cash on Emirates flights, including former boxer Joe Calzaghe's ex girlfriend Jo-Emma Larvin, 44.

A document, provided to the jury during the Isleworth Crown Court trial of Larvin (below) and eight other alleged couriers earlier this year, revealed Clarke was sacked from Sky for gross misconduct concerning alleged fraud in February 2021.

In July Larvin and four others were spared jail with suspended sentences after Judge Sarah Paneth heard glowing character references about their previous good characters, however, Beatrice Auty, 27, was jailed for 42 months due to being more involved in moving money around in the UK.

The prosecution said that Sky discovered Clarke had "fraudulently" transferred around £146,000 into her own bank accounts from a company American Express business card during the tax years 2019/20 and 2020/21.

It said: "On February 11 2021 she was dismissed for fraud following a gross misconduct hearing and her employment was terminated.

"(This) resulted from her fraudulent use of a Sky American Express corporate business card."

Sky would not comment on Clarke's employment, however, a company source said: "We have supported the police and NCA throughout their investigation.

"We cannot share any further detail regarding our internal investigations or processes as this is sensitive information."

Clarke was herself allegedly involved in flying out around £10.3 million over eight flights from January to September 2020, while also allegedly recruiting other couriers.

The prosecution said Clarke was one of the main recruiters for UAE national Abdulla Alfalasi, 48, (above) one of the top figures in the conspiracy.

He was jailed for nine years and seven months in July 2022 after pleading guilty to masterminding the removal of criminal property in the region of £104 million.

Clarke is also alleged to have recruited Leeds recruitment consultant Tara Hanlon, 32, (above) who was arrested at Heathrow Airport with five cases containing more than £1.9 million in October 2020.

She was jailed for 34 months in July 2021 after admitting her role in the attempt and three earlier trips concerning £3.5 million.

Clarke had earlier provided her with documentation signed by Alfalasi that said the money was the proceeds of gold trading for the company Omnivest, the court heard.

Dubai police are also investigating the money laundering and we can reveal that Clarke was interviewed by their officers on July 7 2021 when she was living in the exclusive Dubai Hills area and working for a medical cosmetic surgery company.

The court document said: "Michelle Clarke is believed to have a conviction in Tanzania for the following matter: On or around December 1 2020 four individuals including Michelle Clarke were arrested in Zanzibar after being found in possession of 131kg of Gold.

"They were attempting to hire a private plane to take them to Nairobi. The exportation of Gold from Tanzania is illegal without proper documentation."

Clarke admitted being jailed for around six months in Africa during the interview with police in Dubai.

A record of the interview recorded her as saying: "I have travelled to Comoros Country (off East Africa) to receive gold and deliver it to this company but we were arrested under the charges of tax evasion and I was prisoned(sic) from November 2020 to April 2021."

She was asked about Omnivest, but denied knowing about it.

She admitted knowing Hanlon, but when asked why she had sent her photos and signed letters by Alfalasi authorising her to move cash on behalf of Omnivest, she responded to every question "I don't know."

A courier who flew cash to Dubai as part of the conspiracy, who would not be named, said: "On the face of it, it sounds dodgy, but a lot of us were groomed into doing it. They went to great lengths to make out it was legal with company paperwork and that the money was the proceeds of gold trading for wealthy Arabs.

"The money was picked up from luxury hotels like the Ritz and we were driven in a Mercedes to the airport to fly business class.

"When we arrived in Dubai we were met by armed military police and escorted to the declaration area and given drinks, before being allowed on our way. It seemed legitimate and like the UAE authorities were involved."

The court document said Clarke and others in Dubai are currently unable to leave the country while the probe there continues, but the NCA warrants for them would be executed should Dubai choose not to prosecute them.

Main top image of Michelle Clarke copyright to Essex News and Investigations.


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