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Couple charged with money laundering

24.09.2019 - 14:49
Mynd með færslu
Málið er angi af Euromarket-málinu svokallaða sem kom upp fyrir tveimur árum Mynd: Ægir Þór Eysteinsson - RÚV
The district prosecutor has brought charges against a Polish couple in a 60-million-króna money laundering case. The case is part of the so-called EuroMarket affair that came up two years ago. The couple claimed at the time that the money was the man’s winnings from gaming machines, but a Reykjavík University professor calculated it would be all but impossible to win that amount of money in gambling machines.

The man was arrested in mid-December two years ago in the EuroMarket investigation. Police searched his house shortly afterwards and found various evidence, including a large amount of cash. 

Supporting documents with the prosecutor’s charges say that the investigation is built on a letter rogatory (a request for court action) from Poland. The man has been suspected there of taking part in organised crime, including the smuggling of large quantities of drugs from Poland to Iceland. The man and his wife soon also came under suspicion of money laundering. 

After Icelandic police examined the couple’s tax records, they concluded that their registered earnings were not sufficient to support their lifestyle or accumulation of assets, as it was worded. That is when the couple claimed the man had won the extra money in gambling machines. 

The prosecutor’s documents say the police looked carefully into the couple’s claim, using telephone records and surveillance records to estimate the man’s playing times. The police then asked a Reykjavík University professor to estimate his likely winnings or loss during those hours on the gambling machines. The professor concluded the man could not have ended in profit and that his losses should have been in the region of 11 to 145 million krónur, based on his playing times. 

The justice ministry’s new action plan on money laundering and terrorist financing published this week specifically mentions gambling machines. There, it says that anonymous people can put large amounts of cash into the machines and instead of playing, they can print prize vouchers. The money is then transferred into their bank accounts, leaving a perfectly legal money trail. 

A total of 28 people were suspects in the EuroMarket investigation—one of the most detailed organised crime investigations in Reykjavík for many years. When the case was exposed two years ago, it was believed a stop had been put to a large proportion of a Polish criminal group that had been operating in Iceland.

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Alexander Elliott
Fréttastofa RÚV