POLICE have arrested 11 people as part of an investigation into multi-million pound money laundering operation.
Six properties were searched across Belfast yesterday as part of a police probe “targeting individuals suspected of money laundering through bank accounts”.
Six men aged 67, 48, 44, 42, 41 and 35 and five women aged 60, 38, 36, 34 and 32 were detained during the operation, which also involved the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force and is part of UK wide operation, led by the National Economic Crime Centre.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: “During our investigation we identified that a significant volume of suspected criminal cash was being laundered out of the country through a number of bank accounts held here in Northern Ireland.
“In total, almost £16 million has been deposited to thousands of bank accounts across the UK from the accounts since January 2018.
“We believe that the majority of this money is derived from a range of criminal activity carried out by Chinese organised crime groups.
“Money laundering is often a critical enabler of organised criminality and today’s operation is part of a wider ongoing investigation.
“We are committed to keeping people safe by robustly pursuing those who are involved in laundering criminally derived money and enabling criminals to access the profits gained from their involvement in a range of illegal activities.”