The suspected launderer was arrested by the judicial police. The 61-year-old man, who is unknown to the police, was tried in the morning of Thursday 9 February, along with two sellers linked to crack trafficking in Paris, reported French tabloid Le Parisien. After the arrest of this alleged money launderer, investigators found 110 000 euros of cash in a washing machine in a shop in Château-Rouge in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, where African fabrics are sold. Also 15 000 euros were found at the suspect’s home in Bondy, Seine-Saint-Denis.
A ‘hawala’ expert
The launderer is suspected of having hidden money in the washing machine. The man he was dealing with did not even work in the shop. The shopkeepers will therefore not be pursued by the authorities. Although he was not known to the police, this individual is nevertheless popular within the Senegalese community. He is said to be an expert in “hawala banking”, according to Le Parisien.
The Central Office for the Repression of Serious Financial Crime (OCRGDF) told the daily that this term means “transfer or mandate in Arabic”. It is a “traditional informal payment system based on financial compensation” allowing a rapid transfer of money “without physical or electronic movement”, the OCRGDF said. “This method escapes all regulation, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to trace the funds.”
Two dealers arrested
On Monday, two dealers had already been arrested in Drancy as part of the same crack trafficking case in Paris. These dealers did not work directly with drug addicts. They were responsible for obtaining cocaine from traffickers in immigrant housing estates, then transforming the drugs into crack or selling them to dealers. The police also searched their hideout in Pantin, where 200g of crack, 130g of cocaine, 2.5kg of cutting material and packaging equipment were found.