The network is suspected of having laundered more than 200 million euros in less than a year and a half.
Spanish police said on Thursday they arrested the leader of one of Europe’s biggest money laundering rings, who had links to a gang of drug smugglers from the Costa del Solin the south of the country, and used the sale of high-end vodka to restaurants as a cover.
John Francis Morrissey, the leader of the gang and responsible for its operations in Spain, was arrested on Monday, a police spokesman told Reuters. A total of three people were arrested in Spain and one in England, police said in a statement.
The network was dismantled during a joint international Europol operation called “white wall“. The network is suspected of having laundered more than 200 million euros in less than a year and a half, or up to 350.00 euros per day, said the police.
Links to an Irish gang
He was using the money transfer system called “hawala”, widely used in Pakistan and the Middle East, which allows funds to be exchanged on the basis of trust and without having to go through the banking system. Police say John Francis Morrissey has links to the Irish Kinahan clan, a drug trafficking group operating on the Costa del Sol, Andalusia, and that he “was engaged in collecting large amounts of cash from criminal organizations operating in our country.”
The network sold luxury brands, including a brand of vodka that was promoted in the best restaurants and nightclubs in southern Spaina business that according to the Spanish tax authorities “could in no way support” the life of the network.