A Manchester taxi driver has been jailed for money laundering after HMRC investigators found him with nearly £300,000 in cash he couldn’t explain.
Waqas Ilyas was caught with £248,880 in his Skoda car in April 2015.
A further £36,435 was found in a yellow JD Sports bag under a bed during searches of his Stretford home.
His partner Nazia Ghafar, 31, who also admitted guilt, was found with a ledger that listed transactions totalling more than £1.7 million over a one month period.
The pair initially claimed the cash was linked to an informal ‘Hawala’ banking arrangement.
But facing trial they both backed down and admitted the offences, making no challenge to the seizure of all the money.
Ilyas was sentenced to four years in prison but Ghafar escaped a custodial sentence with a two-year term suspended for 18 months.
HMRC are now looking to see if the seized cash should be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Richard Wentel, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This couple realised their weak explanations would not stand up in court and finally admitted their crimes.
“HMRC will not tolerate this illegal economy. If there is no legitimate reason for bundles of cash like this we will seize it – explain it or lose it.
“Crime doesn’t pay and we will always target money laundering.
“I would urge anyone who has information about this type of activity or witnesses suspicious large cash transactions to call the 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”