An international diamond dealer who ran a £30mn money laundering business has been jailed for 11 years.
Danny Koort, 52, stored bags of “dirty money” at the Fitzrovia offices of his Kosher Diamonds business, converting it into euros before returning the cash to his criminal clients.
As he flew between Amsterdam and the UK trading jewels and gold, his partner, beautician Jeanette Rosen, 49, collected bags of money from couriers at designated spots around London.
When police busted the operation in 2014, they recovered about £300,000 in cash at the Percy Street offices and the couple’s home in Barnet.
Officers also found a diary of meetings with the couriers and notes detailing the amount of money to be collected.
The Old Bailey heard the clients were given codenames including “caviar”, “champagne” and “Cristal”, alongside postcodes of the meeting spots.
Fellow diamond dealer Andrew Russell, 54, who was one of the couriers in the money laundering operation, had a bag containing about £250,000 at his home when he was arrested. He, Koort and Rosen all denied being involved in money laundering but were convicted following a trial.
Judge Paul Worsley jailed Koort for 11 years, Rosen for 10 and Russell for four. After the sentences were passed, Rosen held her hand up to the public gallery and mouthed: “I will be out in five.”
Judge Worsley told Koort: “You were a successful dealer in diamonds and precious metals in Amsterdam, but that was a front for money laundering, a means of explaining large amounts of cash going through your premises.
“You were to all intents and purposes an honourable man with a legitimate and profitable business. But it was, I’m sad to say, greed that turned you in this direction — you were a perfectly respectable, hard-working and intelligent man with a good standard of living.
There was no need at all, unlike some who appear in this court, to turn to crime, and yet you did.”
He said Rosen was a “willing partner”, taking a hands-on role by collecting money and delivering it to Koort’s office. The judge said a “conservative” estimate of the value of the illicit operation was £30mn.
Police put the operation under surveillance, first arresting Russell and then in November 2014 moving in to arrest Rosen and Koort.
Meticulous notes made of meetings in 2013 and 2014 led to the couple’s downfall. Officers broke their code, working out that three-digit numbers next to the clients’ nicknames indicated the hundreds of thousands of pounds that were collected.
At trial, the judge said the jury had seen through the couple’s “tissue of lies”, when they claimed the cash deliveries were for legitimate purchases in Koort’s diamond trading business.