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Money launderer claimed 'threats to sister' were reason for crimes

Money launderer claimed 'threats to sister' were reason for crimes

Monday 05 December 2022

Money launderer claimed 'threats to sister' were reason for crimes

Monday 05 December 2022

A "remorseful" Uzbekistan national, who came to Jersey to buy luxury items worth thousands as part of a money laundering scheme, has failed to get his prison sentence reduced.

Muhiddin Umurzokov (50) - who claimed he was pressurised into the crime by a criminal gang who were threatening to harm his sister - last week asked the Royal Court for a reduction in his sentence and also for the court to lift its recommendation that he be deported after his release.

He had been convicted in April of coming to Jersey with Anvarjon Eshonkulov and Batsukh Bataa in order to launder the proceeds of crime.

The trio changed some of the money into US dollars and euros and swapped Jersey banknotes for Bank of England notes.

They also paid some into other accounts and spent some on iPads, iPhones, Apple watches and clothes.

Royal Court.JPG

Pictured: The appeal was heard last week.

They also tried to buy a car and a gold and diamond watch – but were told they could not pay for the items in cash.

Speaking via an Uzbek intepreter, Umurzokov told the Royal Court that he had not benefited from the money.

He said his four-year sentence was longer than those given to some other money launderers, and that he had already served the equivalent of 18 months of it.

The money launderer also said he had two small children, the younger of whom was born after his imprisonment.

Advocate Frances Littler, representing Umurzokov, added that he hoped to stay in Jersey and open a business here upon his release.

And through his interpreter he said: "I am extremely remorseful. I didn’t realise how serious it was."

However Advocate David Hopwood, for the Crown, said the alleged threats to Umorzokov’s sister were irrelevant to his sentence – and that in any case she was now in the UK and so no longer in danger.

He added: ‘The maximum sentence for these offences is 14 years. It cannot be said that four years is manifestly excessive.

"It is not the case that the sentencing court proceeded on the wrong basis."

The Jurats agreed and Bailiff Sir Timothy Le Cocq said: "We dismiss the appeal."

Jurats Collette Crill, Steven Austin-Vautier, Kim Averty, Karen Le Cornu and David Le Heuzé were sitting.

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