Tayside and Central Scotland

Money laundering book-keeper ordered to pay £470,000

A book-keeper jailed for her part in a massive money laundering scam has had £470,000 confiscated under proceeds of crime rules.

Caroline Laing was jailed for two-and-a-half years for her role in the £11.6m VAT scam run by Michael Voudouri, who was jailed for more than 11 years.

The 57-year-old was convicted of helping Voudouri and his associates hide £1.8m of dirty cash.

Laing, of Denny, has six months to pay the order to Falkirk Sheriff Court.

At her trial last year, Laing claimed she had been an "unwitting victim of Michael Voudouri's dishonesty".

However Lord Tyre said the jury was "unanimously of the view that you knew or at least suspected that the funds which were passing through your personal bank account represented the proceeds of crime".

The Crown raised proceedings against her to confiscate the proceeds of criminal conduct, which it totalled at £807,637.50.

An order was granted at the High Court in Edinburgh for the sum of £470,000, the value of Laing's "realisable assets", which includes bank accounts, pension plans and sales receipts from a Mercedes S350 and a BMW X5 Sport, as well as a property in Denny.

'Global scale'

Voudouri, 47, formerly of Bridge of Allan, was jailed for 11-and-a-half years in June for leading the "industrial scale" £11.6m money laundering scam.

He had admitted the crime in 2012, but fled to Cyprus before sentencing, only returning to the UK when he was charged with carrying a fake passport by the Cypriot authorities.

Speaking after the case, Lindsey Miller, procurator fiscal for organised crime and counter-terrorism, said Laing had "assisted in laundering significant sums of money" on "a truly global scale".

She said: "The experts of our Economic Crime Unit traced the accused's attempts to launder money through 20 companies and six countries, from Greece to the USA to the British Virgin Islands.

"I hope this sends a strong message that there is nowhere that Scottish criminals can hide, and no matter the complexity of their tactics or their use of specialist advisers, we will trace them and recover their illegal profits.

"The funds recovered from Laing will be re-invested in the community by Scottish Ministers, through the CashBack for Communities programme."

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