The Barnet-based owner of Kosher Diamonds and his beautician partner have been jailed for 11 and ten years respectively for their role in laundering at least £30 million.
The Old Bailey heard how “greedy” Danny Koort, 52, and Jeanette Rosen, 49, used Koort’s diamond-trading business as a front to launder “dirty money,” with Rosen regularly transporting tens of thousands of pounds in cash around London.
Police found £300,000 stashed in Koort’s Fitzrovia offices when they finally swooped on the couple in 2014, after months of surveillance work. Investigators later deciphered codenames to reveal the huge amounts changing hands.
The pair used code names such as Fiat, Honda, Champagne, Cristal and Caviar to refer to customers in detailed diaries of their deals. Entries for deals from January 2013 to November 2014 suggest they may have laundered up to £53m.
Dutch national Koort, 52, and Rosen, 48, both from East Finchley, north London, were jailed for 11 and 10 years respectively at the Old Bailey following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the City of London police.
An accomplice, Andrew Russell, 54, of Ongar in Essex, was also convicted of money laundering and jailed for four years, the NCA said.
Rosen, acting on Koort’s behalf, would take part in street exchanges with couriers to transfer massive sums of cash.
The gang was snared when officers arrested Russell in July 2014 with almost £200,000 in cash in a holdall in his car. He had been under surveillance at a meeting at an Essex hotel where he collected a large bag before going to an Argos shop, buying a holdall and filling it with cash.
Later that day, officers photographed Russell and Rosen meeting in a street, though he did not hand her the money.
She was arrested on 28 November that year on a street in central London when police caught her carrying a bag that contained almost £170,000.
Officers searching her office discovered another €235,000 (£211,000) and around £17,000 in cash, while 10 pay-as-you-go mobile phones were found in her car, nine with code names written on them.
At their home a piece of paper headed “my big friend” had calculations for amounts in sterling and euro, with an outstanding amount of £60,100. There was also a bag of counterfeit notes.
NCA investigator Tony Luhman said: “Koort and Rosen had enormous sums of money going through their books and were clearly doing a lot of business with many organised crime groups.
“Their conviction removes a money laundering facility on which numerous other criminals have depended, and now makes life harder for crooks looking to clean their dirty cash.”
DC Mark Edwards said: “Money launderers are integral to organised crime. Stopping operations like Koort and Rosen’s, where funds were laundered on an industrial scale, inflicts massive damage on serious organised gangs.”