Salim Patel, who ran a "highly sophisticated" cash laundering operation from a Leicester factory unit.

Salim Pate


This is the face of criminal gang recruit, Salim Patel, who ran a “highly sophisticated” cash laundering operation from a Leicester factory unit.

The 32-year-old was arrested near his unit with £125,070 stashed in an Amazon box inside his Nissan van in Ash Street, near Humberstone Road, in Leicester, on Thursday April 8.

Leicester Crown Court was told a cash ledger in the vehicle revealed he had already handled nearly five million pounds in a month, believed to be drug-related proceeds.

As reported by LeicestershireLive, Patel, of Colchester Road, off Uppingham Road, in the city, was jailed for five years.

He admitted two counts of possessing criminal property and one of concealing, disguising or transferring £125,070 of criminal property, as well as a similar count involving £4,692,590, between March 7 and April 8.

Christopher Jeyes, prosecuting, said as well as the cash in the Amazon box, officers found a further £7,010 in the vehicle and £2,085 in a safe in the industrial unit, where there was a money-counting machine.

When asked why he had so much cash he said he did not know, adding: “It’s just a delivery job.”

The ledger also reportedly showed an entry for £4,630 “wages” which defence counsel said accorded with Patel being a “paid operative” for carrying out instructions and he had no stake in the money being processed.

He was tasked to undertake the “risky business” of receiving delivery of the banknotes, counting it and packaging it for onward distribution whilst those in charge kept safely out of the limelight.

The ledger also showed that numerous cash consignments received by Patel averaged at about £120,000 although one receipt showed £300,000.

References to various Scottish banknotes in the consignments, on mobile phone messages, indicated “likely drug dealing north of the border.”

The prosecutor added: “The Crown can’t prove the exact nature of the criminality involved – and do not have to – but cash in these sums represents very significant and serious offending.

Mohammed Qazi, mitigating, said it was a “spectacular fall from grace” for Patel, the father of a young child, who was a hardworking citizen before being recruited to handle the cash.

When he passed sentence, Recorder Michael Auty QC said: “For about a month he was involved in a highly sophisticated money laundering enterprise in which he was entrusted with significant sums of money.

“I’m satisfied a significant proportion of this was down to the trafficking of pernicious drugs.

“It’s a trade so other people can be rich and live high on the hog, utterly unconcerned about the suffering of others.

“The sad reality of those who make millions on the back of the suffering of others is that they often recruit people like the defendant to carry out their dirty work.”