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Who are the UK-convicted couriers smuggling $130 million to UAE?

The announcement from police of the bust in the UK follows the UAE government's efforts to combat money laundering in the country.
Jonathan Johnson and Jo Emma Larvin

DUBAI — British authorities said on Wednesday that they dismantled a ring of cash couriers who allegedly smuggled more than $100 million from the United Kingdom to the United Arab Emirates

The bust of 11 couriers follows an Emirati official saying the country needs more time to fight money laundering. 

The UK's National Crime Agency said the couriers laundered and smuggled more than 104 million British pounds ($130 million) from the UK to Dubai during 83 trips between November 2019 and October 2020. The couriers were paid around $3,750 for each trip and received business-class airline tickets due to the extra baggage allowance. Each bag carried around $620,000 and weighed roughly 40 kilograms (88 pounds). They coordinated their operations via WhatsApp, according to the agency. 

"The laundering of such vast quantities of cash around the globe enables organized criminals and corrupt elites to clean or hide their ill-gotten gains," said Adrian Searle, who heads the agency's economic crimes division. 

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