London police seized $22 million allegedly transferred into the country by a Russian organized crime gang running Ponzi schemes and laundering money through the futures market.
The move came six weeks after a 43-year-old Russian broker was arrested on suspicion of fraud, abuse of position and money laundering and released on bail. A British national was also interviewed under caution and released. Neither person was identified by police.
Detectives took possession of four checks from a clearing firm in the Square Mile, London’s financial district, after the firm closed the suspect’s five trading accounts. The operation came two weeks after authorities seized bankers’ drafts worth 30 million pounds ($43 million) in South Wales and arrested a 58-year-old man on suspicion of money laundering in the largest monetary seizure by a U.K. police force.
A Russian oil firm, a Swiss investment company, an investment firm in the British Virgin Islands and another Russian company were a front for the Russian gang, according to police. None of the businesses were identified.
The arrest was the result of an investigation into suspicious trading on the futures market by the police’s Money Laundering Unit and the Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which monitors markets to identify suspicious trading activity.
"ICE monitors trading activity around the clock using sophisticated market surveillance tools and technology to detect market abuse," Kelly Loeffler, a spokeswoman for ICE, said in an e-mailed statement. "We notified the authorities immediately upon detecting suspicious trading activity and continue to support the City of London Police in their operation."