Two arrested for COVID-19 government business loans fraud

THE Met’s Economic Crime Unit have launched an investigation after two men were arrested for money laundering offences in Kensington.

On Wednesday, 17 June, following a routine drug search on a vehicle in Holland Park, officers were made aware that the owner of the vehicle, a man in his early 20s, had travelled a distance to meet a man in order to set up a bank account, for which he would be paid £300.

A second man aged in his late 40s, that he was due to meet and subsequently arrested both on suspicion of money laundering and fraud on the same day.

Police believe the main suspect to have been recruiting individuals with the sole purpose of using their details to set up limited companies and bank accounts, which have then been used to launder money and facilitate fraud.

Amongst the evidence found at the address were several application forms from a number of suspected fake companies to their banks in request of “bounce back loans”- a scheme launched by the government to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detectives from the Met’s Economic Crime Unit are in the process of identifying these accounts and at present, have obtained ten account freezing orders amounting to £553,305.

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