Goldfinger: A spider’s web of stealth, wealth and death..

John Palmer pictured in 2002
John Palmer pictured in 2002

By Carl Fellstrom, Tom Worden and David Connett
A top-secret surveillance operation monitored gunned-down timeshare fraudster John “Goldfinger” Palmer for at least eight years up until his death two weeks ago, it can be revealed.
The British operation, which drew upon listening devices placed by Spanish law enforcement, amassed a treasure trove of intelligence on organised crime figures from at least 2007. Fears about the operation being compromised by corrupt police officers resulted in it being established at a remote RAF base in the north of England.
A four-man team, some of whom retired during the course of the operation but were kept on for operational and secrecy reasons, was fed a daily diet of information about Palmer’s meetings and associations as he flitted around the globe and between Britain, Tenerife and mainland Spain.
Essex detectives investigating Palmer’s killing have requested help from the Spanish authorities about possible motives and suspects. It can also be revealed that Palmer, found dead in the garden of his Essex home in June, was shot in the chest and leg by a low-calibre weapon firing ammunition designed to cause maximum fragmentation inside the target.
The assassin had cut a hole out of a panel in the fence that surrounded the dead man’s secluded garden. Police have removed the panel for further examination.
The surveillance operation was based at an unlisted office within RAF Spadeadam, on the borders of Cumbria and Northumberland. The intelligence gleaned from the surveillance of Palmer and his associates led to a myriad of other operations being set up.
They picked up Palmer doing business with crime bosses from the UK, Russia, Romania and Spain, and created an intelligence file that read like a who’s who of organised crime, according to sources.
One former intelligence source with the Serious Organised Crime Agency, forerunner to the National Crime Agency, said: “They were being fed intelligence by the Spanish including phone calls and other surveillance material. It was kept as quiet as possible because of fears about corruption issues within British law enforcement, and legal issues surrounding the operation’s involvement with the Spanish and the obtaining of intelligence from those bugs.”
Palmer was charged with money laundering and fraud in Tenerife in May and was on bail. He was reputedly worth £300m, but investigators believe that figure was greatly exaggerated. In May 2005 he was declared bankrupt and all his assets, including seven timeshare resorts, were taken over by a trustee in bankruptcy. British police believe a number of his assets were taken over by the Adams family, the north London crime gang.
Spanish investigators tracking down Palmer’s assets found he owned a complex network of 122 companies, many offshore in the Isle of Man, Madeira and the British Virgin Islands, as well as 60 offshore bank accounts. The accounts were seized and the timeshare resorts were sold off for approximately £30m, mostly to Russian investors.
Palmer was sued in a group action by many of his thousands of victims and was ordered to repay them £4m.However, Spain’s tax authority seized the bulk of the money raised from the asset sales, leaving his victims with little prospect of recovering their money. He also spent around £5m in legal fees.
A source on the financial investigation estimated the criminal’s fortune to be nearer to £50m. The source said: “Palmer said he blew a huge amount of money in the 1990s on cocaine and girlfriends. He had a massive cocaine habit and the lifestyle to go with it – the private jet, the yacht, the Ferraris.
“He had four or five girlfriends at any one time, and would fly around the world on his private jet, to Barbados, Russia, the US, Germany, France, Switzerland. He also said he spent a fortune paying off judges, police officers and politicians in Tenerife.
“He said he once flew a private jet back from Russia full of cash. He was stopped at Madrid airport and bribed a policeman with a suitcase full of cash to turn a blind eye. Palmer had millions coming in in cash but blew millions at the same time. He used the 60 offshore accounts like personal bank accounts. His finances were complete chaos. So much of his business was done in cash, there was always a mountain of cash lying around in his Tenerife office. Literally stuffed in suitcases or lying around the office. He never paid tax and thought he would get away with it by bribing officials.”
Palmer’s yacht – Brave Goose of Essex – seized by a Spanish court in 2001, is worth much less than its reputed £1m value. An expert valued it at £400,000 but said it would cost £250,000 to make it seaworthy. “If you untied it from the dock it would sink,” the source said. Palmer’s collection of classic cars from the 1940s and 1950s, worth around £500,000, was allowed to corrode in the sea air in a Tenerife pound.
While Palmer was declared bankrupt and was officially broke, his partner Christina Ketley, who he met when she worked for him as a timeshare rep in the 1980s, was not. The house in South Weald, Essex, is in her name as is a two-storey flat overlooking the sea in south Tenerife. Ms Ketley, 55, is a director of seven companies in Spain and five in the UK. Prosecutors recently tried, but failed, to have her assets frozen.
She is facing fraud and money-laundering charges in Spain, and could be jailed for up to eight years if convicted. Last week prosecutors said they expect the case against her and nine others, including two of Palmer’s nephews, to go ahead at Madrid’s National Court.
Prosecutors alleged Ms Ketley ran Palmer’s business while he was jailed in the UK (he was sentenced to eight years for fraud in 2001, serving four). Sources close to Palmer insist he had no intention of pleading guilty to charges in Spain and a senior prosecution source described suggestions of a plea bargain as “pure fantasy”.
A defence source said Palmer vigorously denied the charges and had no intention of pleading guilty. He was due to fly to Madrid for a defence strategy when he was murdered.
The source said: “John Palmer was not a grass and he had no intention of becoming one. We believed there was every chance the case against him would have been thrown out.”
Before his death, friends say he was helping Ms Ketley run her Tenerife restaurant. He had his bail varied to return to Britain for surgery.

Turkish gang charged over UK’s largest cocaine seizure off Scottish coast

MV Hamal boat is intercepted by Royal Navy
MV Hamal boat is intercepted by Border Force and Royal Navy vessels last week. Nine Turkish men have been charged

IN what appears to be the largest single seizure of cocaine in the UK, the authorities have charged nine Turkish men as part of the smuggling probe into more than three tonnes of the drug.

The nine men, aged between 26 and 63, all appeared before Aberdeen Sheriff’s Court yesterday, charged with possession of a controlled drug after an operation last week which saw the tug they crewed, MV Hamal, intercepted by Royal Navy and Border Force vessels.

The operation followed a tip off from the French customs after the tug, registered to Marshall Islands company Kiev Shipping and Trading Corporation, and flying a Tanzanian flag, was spotted 100 miles off the Scottish coast heading for Hamburg port. The German port has in recent years become a mirror to Antwerp as a shipping gateway for the introduction of South American cocaine into Europe. French sources believe the drugs could have been loaded onto the vessel in the Canary Islands early in April where it had docked.

Officers from the National Crime Agency working in conjunction with Police Scotland and the Royal Navy boarded the boat and brought it ashore to Aberdeen last week. French sources have estimated the seizure at more than two tonnes with a search of the boat continuing for several days.

The largest previous UK seizure of cocaine was in May 2011 in Southampton when a 1.2 tonnes load connected to Dutch-moroccan gangster, Samir Bouyakhrichan, later assassinated in Marbella, Spain, was seized from a luxury cruiser.

Though searches of the boat are expected to be completed by tomorrow, the load seized in Aberdeen could amount to as much as the total 2.4 tonnes of cocaine seized in the UK for the year 2011/12.

Seven men from Istanbul appeared in court yesterday.Mustafa Ceviz, 54, Ibrahim Dag,47, Mumin Sahin, 45, Mahammet Seckin, 26, Umit Colakel, 38, Kayacan Dalgakiran, 63, Emin Ozmen, 50, were remanded in custody along with two men other Turkish men arrested on the boat; Abdulkadir Cirik, 31, from Mersin, and Mustafa Guven,47, from Yozgat. Investigations are continuing into the gang behind the smuggling plot.

This seizure comes just 10 days after 2.25 tonnes of cocaine was seized from a yacht off the Martinique, the largest ever by French customs, in an operation which also involved the National Crime Agency.

In the past year large scale cocaine and heroin shipments which have been intercepted by the authorities have led to crime gangs in Netherlands, with links to Turkey and Morocco, executing a series of assassinations of significant gang members across the globe in an apparent power struggle.

UPDATE: Since this article was published, the National Crime Agency has confirmed that the drugs amount to more than three tonnes with a value in excess on the street of more than £500 million see National Crime Agency

Robert Dawes “the victim” ….I don’t think so and nor do our law enforcement officials

Robert Dawes captured on surveillance cameras at airport

GANGSTER Robert Dawes has stepped up his campaign to become a newly anointed  Saint by creating his own website designed to hit back at some of the material I have published about the man described by law enforcement experts as a “highly significant international criminal”.

 
You can view for yourself the case that he puts forward at www.stateurcase.com . However since Dawes’ webpage has been created there have been some new developments. On December 20th 2012 the judge at Court 32 in Madrid decided to re-indite Dawes over the 187 kilos of cocaine seized back in September 2007.


The rogatory letter bungle, which I have previously written about in The Guardian , has been resolved and Judge Jose Santiago Torres Prieto has finally received the evidence he had been asking for from the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency since April 2011. The cause of the delay of the documents remains a mystery however and although Eurojust, the body based in The Hague responsible for passing on the evidence requests is continuing its investigation into the matter, they have so far refused to provide any explanation.


The Spanish version of the indictment can be read from the following link www.scribd.com/doc/246278845/Spanish-Court-Dawes-indictment
The translation states that Dawes was summoned before Court 32 on Boxing day 2011 at 11am. It states that the British authorities have now provided a series of facts and evidence which vindicate all the previous statements made by Karl Hayes, one of Dawes couriers, currently serving a seven and half year sentence in Spain over the cocaine seizure. “specifically the participation in that group of David Wombwell, Andrew Cunliffe, and above all Gavin Dawes, being especially relevant the surveillance carried out by officers from SOCA on 7 August 2007 into Karl Hayes and David Wombwell, as well as the result of David Wombwell’s statement of 31 October 2007, and the payments arising from the notes found in Gavin Dawes’ seized diary, the conclusion is reached that the transfer and the operation were to be carried out in the interest of and under the orders of an organised group under the directions of Robert Dawes.” 
 
Hayes had said in his statements that the operation had been led by Robert Dawes and he had been threatening him (Hayes) “for some time”.
 
The new indictment also states that Dawes has been ordered to pay a bond to the court of just over 7 million Euros against a possible fine if convicted of the drug trafficking offence. The Judge states that Dawes assets will be seized if the bond is not paid.
 
 It now only remains for the Dubai authorities to send their evidence which they seized when Dawes was first arrested at his home in Dubai in June 2008. The details of the search by Dubai police can be found here . (you probably can’t find it here anymore..wait for more news soon 18/02/16)
 
In a separate development it appears that one of Dawes’ closest lieutenants, Raphael Nasr, has left Dubai and made his way to the UK following the Sunday Times article which exposed his business links in April last year with Robert Dawes and Jamil Karzai, nephew of Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Nasr spent some time with friends celebrating Christmas in the UK.
Nasr may be of interest to any of the British authorities investigating Dawes. At one time he held the keys to much of Dawes’ financial transactions. 
 

 

Eurojust and the case of Robert Dawes

 
Robert Dawes currently at large on the Mijas Costa in Spain
Eurojust’s Andrew Crookes (Right) with Aled Williams current President

 
Last week I wrote in The Guardian about the cock-up over a request from the Spanish authorities which led to organised crime boss  Robert Dawes being freed from custody.
 
Dawes track record has been catalogued here and in the publication Hoods. He has been on the radar of British law enforcement officials for 13 years. Indeed he has been described recently by officers from Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) as “a highly significant international criminal” who is “wanted for murder in Holland and drug trafficking in the UK”. Their own words not mine.
 
How did it come to pass that a man in such demand by law enforcement agencies was allowed to go free because an urgent request for assistance from a Spanish judge to SOCA somehow got lost in the post for FIVE months.
 
SOCA officials have been pointing the finger at Eurojust saying the document must have been “lost in the Eurozone”. The letter rogatory, the formal request made by one country to another, was sent by the Spanish judge on April 19 2011 but did not arrive with SOCA, say its officials, until the end of August 2011. Dawes was released on September 12 because the judge had not received any response from the British.
 
It appears the letter was sent via Eurojust. A powerful body set up in 2002, based in the Hague. Its remit is to speed up co-operation between EU countries on international organised crime cases. Eurojust has around 500 administrative staff but its power lies in the delegations from each European country of which there is a head and deputy head.
 
It appears that the document was sent by the judge Jose Santiago Torres Prieto to the deputy head of the Spanish delegation Maria Teresa Galvez Diez and from there it would have been forwarded on to the British authorities via the British delegation. It would have been no more than a a day’s work at Eurojust’s headquarters to send the request to the UK.
 
Often mistakes happen because officials do not realise the importance of a document or request but when one looks at the CVs of the British delegation at Eurojust one must wonder how things could have gone so catastrophically wrong, if indeed the fault lies with Eurojust.
 
The UK’s delegation head is also the current president of Eurojust. His name is Aled Williams and to quote his own biography from Eurojust his “legal career started in 1984 when he was admitted as a solicitor and then worked as a prosecutor with responsibility for serious cases of homicide, fraud and drug trafficking. In 2002 he was appointed the United Kingdom liaison magistrate to Spain. He worked in the Ministry of Justice in Madrid for four years, dealing with mutual legal assistance, extradition and the introduction of European Arrest Warrant procedures.
 
The background of his deputy Andrew Crookes is even more interesting. To quote Eurojust he was “admitted as a Solicitor in 1989, he is a Higher Court Advocate and has 20 years’ prosecution experience. He worked as Trial Unit Head in Nottinghamshire prior to joining the Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters Central Casework Divisions in 2004. He was Head of Special Crime Division, York, and in 2006 was appointed Head of the Organised Crime Division in Birmingham. There he was responsible for a team of lawyers dealing with prosecutions arising from investigations by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, including money laundering, drug trafficking and human trafficking. Prior to joining Eurojust, he was appointed as a Senior Specialist Lawyer to deal nationally with the most complex, serious and sensitive cases arising from the activities of international organised crime groups.
 
When one considers Robert Dawes background from Nottinghamshire, his background in organised crime, money laundering and drug trafficking in Spain and other countries his links to at least two brutal murders; it is difficult to believe you could find two lawyers who would fit the bill better than these two members of British delegation or indeed more eminent in their field.
 
So what went wrong? Eurojust are currently looking into the matter and so we will have to see what explanation they deliver. Lets just hope it won’t take another five months to find out. In the meantime surely it is important to ensure that Robert Dawes is finally put before the courts and face the evidence that exists against him whether that be in Spain, Holland or the UK.

The Teflon Don slips away again

Robert Dawes is free again. Another botched operation or is something more sinister going on?

EARLIER this year I wrote about the case of Robert Dawes , head of an organised crime group which has left a trail of devastation in its wake through its activities over the last 10 years.


Dawes was finally arrested in Dubai on an International Arrest Warrant issued by the Spanish authorities and flown to Madrid in May this year. It seemed as though the law enforcement agencies had finally managed to get their man after countless investigations against him dating back more than a decade spanning Holland, Belgium, Dubai, Spain and the UK.


The Spanish were “cock-a-hoop” over the arrest to the extent that they issued a statement saying, in targeting Dawes, they had seized millions of pounds worth of drugs including 5.7 tons of cannabis resin, 100 kilos of heroin, 210 kilos of cocaine as well as four firearms, 5.4 million pounds’ worth of property and 90,000 pounds in cash. They described Dawes as “the boss of one of England’s most important drug trafficking organisations”.


Dawes was placed in custody in Madrid and prosecutors began to finalise their case which centered on the details of Operation Halbert, the SOCA led operation which focused on Dawes which was set up in 2006 and which had already led to three British men and a Columbian being jailed for between seven and half years and eight years in the Spanish courts after 187 kilos of high purity cocaine was seized near Madrid.


Then on September 12 in Madrid a strange thing happened. Dawes was suddenly released from custody by a Spanish judge presiding in Court 32. The officers at the head of the Guardia Civil elite Central Operative Unit which had targeted Dawes were not informed of his release and even a week later the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) were denying that the charges against Dawes had been dropped and that he was at liberty. SOCA argued he had merely been released on bail back to his home on the Mijas Costa. Yet there was no surveillance in place for a man known to have several false passports and who has a penchant for fleeing to countries with no extradition agreements such as Dubai. It has since emerged that one of the reasons prosecutors in Spain offered no evidence against Dawes is that one of his associates – British man Karl Hayes who had been interviewed at length by officers from SOCA while in a Spanish prison – was now refusing to make a statement against Dawes. 


Returning to SOCA’s role in this matter; it has a number of serious questions to answer about the way this botched operation has unfolded. An official spokesman for SOCA denied their primary role in investigating Dawes. It was, said a spokesman, a “Spanish operation” which SOCA simply assisted “where required” . That is a strange assertion in itself since, according to documents filed in the Spanish courts, SOCA was the lead agency on Operation Halbert and the main involvement of the Spanish authorities was in making the initial arrests on their soil, seizing the cocaine and subsequently applying for Dawes extradition from Dubai. All the intelligence for the operation came from SOCA including the tracking of vehicles, and if SOCA had no primary role in this investigation why did its officers fly out to Spain to interview one of Dawes’ associates Karl Hayes a number of times? 


And what are we to make of the Spanish courts statement on Robert Dawes release. This is what they had to say. 
“The Provincial Court in Madrid has revoked the indictment of Robert Dawes issued by the Court of Instruction number 32 and so he is at liberty. The magistrates at the Provincial Court understand that, over and above the important report by the Central Operative Unit (of the Guardia Civil) which is found in the proceedings, it is necessary to wait for a response from the Commission of Dubai, with reference to the searches in the case, and, above all, the Commission of the United KingdomWhen the judicial authorities of those countries respond with evidence the case will be taken up again, but neither of the two commissions has yet commented and there is no indication of when they might do so.”


So in effect Spain is blaming the UK for failing to provide it with the evidence it had requested to keep Dawes in custody.




Robert Dawes has been identified in no less than nine large national criminal investigations in the UK involving large scale drug shipments since 2000. In addition he has been identified by Nottinghamshire Police as the man suspected of commissioning the murder of David Draycott, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire in October 2002, a case in which no-one has been charged. Additionally, Dutch investigators have evidence that Dawes sponsored a similar hit against an innocent school teacher, Gerard Meesters in Groningen, Holland in November 2002. As recent as late last year a SOCA document described Robert Dawes as “a highly significant international criminal” and in the prosecution  of Dawes brother John, who received a 24 year sentence for drug supply and money laundering, Robert Dawes was named as the head of the organisation.


When Dutch investigators visited the UK in 2004 to speak to potential witnesses with intimate knowledge of Dawes’ drug smuggling and money laundering operations, those witnesses all pointed the finger at Dawes saying they believed he had ordered Gerard Meesters murder. None would make a formal statement to Dutch prosecutors fearing reprisals. Some went further. Dawes, they believed, was an “asset” who was being protected in some way from prosecution because of the information he held.  A statement they said, implicating Dawes, would not be conducive to their long term health if a prosecution failed. Even police officers who have investigated Dawes in the past are coming to the conclusion that Dawes is a “Teflon Don” to whom no prosecution will stick. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen but the latest twist in the life of this latter day Godfather does nothing to debunk the theory that some hold that Dawes is in some way being protected. At present Robert Dawes’ criminal CV appears to be an example of 11 years worth of clumsy law enforcement work or someone somewhere has been placing spanners in the works deliberately.I am told the Spanish authorities now have no idea where Dawes is. Either way at present Robert Dawes appears to be bullet-proof as far as our law enforcement agencies are concerned and I hear that  he is even lining up a 200,000 Euro claim against the Spanish authorities for wrongful arrest. Priceless.









The Afghan links to a very British organised crime group…………

(from the top) Nasr, Dawes, and Jamil Karzai

The Afghan links to a very British organised crime group…………


FAMILY of the Afghan president Hamid Karzai have formed connections with a British gangster who is wanted for major drug trafficking and murder and has been conducting a money-laundering operation from Dubai.

A four month investigation by journalists has uncovered evidence that three nephews of the Afghan president – one of whom is a former Afghan MP and another is a government intelligence chief – are linked to Robert Dawes, a 39-year-old drugs kingpin who has figured in eight separate national UK crime investigations but has evaded capture.
Dawes, named by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in recent court documents as a “highly significant international criminal” is currently in prison in Dubai fighting extradition to Spain where the authorities want him to face trial over a 200-kilo haul of  82 per cent purity cocaine discovered outside Madrid in September 2007.
He is also wanted in Holland where he was named in court as the man who ordered the murder of an innocent school teacher, Gerard Meesters, in Groningen in November 2002. Meesters was targeted simply for being a relative of someone who had crossed Dawes.
Detectives in Britain are understood to want to interview Dawes about major drug trafficking in heroin and cocaine, money laundering and the unsolved murder in October 2002 of David Draycott from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, who like Meesters was assassinated at his home.
Dawes fled the UK for Spain nearly ten years ago and has spent much of his time shuttling between the Mijas Costa and Dubai. In the intervening period police swooped on members of his cartel, including his brother John and father, Arthur. Both were jailed in 2005 for drugs offences and money laundering.
Since 2007 Dawes has stayed in Dubai running a money-laundering operation. Dubai has long been considered a magnet for money-laundering, particularly in relation to Afghanistan, where much of the political elite has second homes.
It was at the centre of last year’s scandal over the misuse of Kabul Bank by its shareholders, who had been loaning to themselves in order to buy property there. The US embassy in Afghanistan estimates $10m a day leaves the country for Dubai, much of it the proceeds of illegal activity from the country’s heroin trade, the leading export of the country.
Reporters began investigating Dawes’ connections with the Karzai family in November last year after receiving information that Jamil Karzai, a nephew of the Afghan president, had been seen at Dawes offices meeting the Briton’s right-hand man, Raphael Nasr.
An undercover reporter approached Manchester-born Nasr, who is also on the radar of the SOCA and the Guardia Civil, posing as a broker representing a client looking for business partners in Afghanistan.
Dawes and Nasr jointly run Argosta Emirates General Trading, a Dubai-based company, and Nasr also controls Syncon, a construction company registered to operate in Afghanistan.
In telephone conversations Nasr boasted of strong links not only to Jamil Karzai, but also his brothers, Yama and Ajmal. Yama Karzai now occupies a position within the Afghan intelligence services. Nasr also stated that Yama’s brother Ajmal Karzai is now the president of Syncon.
Although he was initially wary (“I’m not talking to a reporter or something? It’s just that I’m going to be introducing you to some people and they can help in there”) Nasr said his connections could easily facilitate work for the reporter’s client.
He said: “Yama is like my brother. I am in Kabul often and stay with his family. He has just been made head of four departments and is a general. I could ask as in favours from him.
“Obviously of course we have ways of getting in, we have ins, there are people who are favoured there, do you understand?
“The president now [of Syncon] is Ajmal Karzai. He was working with the US government on special operations and then left the government because the job they gave him was to do with drug enforcement which he didn’t [want], which was a high risk kind of job.
“So you know again, you’ve got a gentleman there who knows, who took me to three ministers just via a mobile telephone call.
“Of course we are going to give you favouritism, of course there is, it’s all over the world.”
Nasr said that contruction contracts in Afghanistan given to “triple A companies” could be sub-contracted out to the reporter’s client for an “administration fee”, but only with the use of his connections to open doors.
He said: “We can go sit with them and they say give us a five percent, three per cent administration fee and that’s your contract. Whereas they wouldn’t do that with other people.”
Nasr put the reporter in telephone contact with Jamil Karzai, who was in Dubai. The Afghan, who heads the Youth Solidarity Party, was an MP in Kabul until losing his seat in 2010.
Jamil Karzai, who was a regular visitor to the Argosta offices, told the undercover reporter: “I know him [Raphael Nasr] from Dubai, so he has been to Afghanistan, there are a lot of things we can do in Afghanistan it’s a matter of being here and witnessing for yourself what I can do or what we can do.
“Raphael is our best friend and is now kind of family now….we can do good business there if we all get together we can have something really good.”
He confirmed that his brother Ajaml was the president of Syncon, adding: “He [Nasr} is our friend, so [of] our friendship there is no doubt, but still you know me or my younger brother Yama, we are not in a business deal with him yet, but our elder brother, he is or he is going to to be the president of his company in Afghanistan.”
Asked about Dawes, Karzai said: “I’ve spoken with him, yeah, I’ve spoken with him I think a couple of times, through Raph by telephone.”
Both Karzai and Nasr were keen to effect a meeting with the reporter in Dubai or Afghanistan to discuss projects further.
Journalists have also obtained a document from Dawes’ associates which show a complex money laundering plan for Dawes’ cash rich drugs business. Plans drawn up for Dawes, who also has a company called the English Laundry in Dubai, recommended using Malta and British Virgin Island based-companies in order to avoid detection.
Court papers relating to the conviction of Dawes’ brother, John, who was jailed for 24 years in 2005 for drug trafficking offences, conservatively estimate that more than £1 million per month was being laundered by the cartel.
Dawes was arrested in Dubai in 2008, apparently relating to a warrant emanating from Spain. Two weeks ago at a Madrid court three Britons and a Columbian, were jailed for between eight and seven half years. Dawes identified by SOCA and the Guardia Civil as the man behind the haul.
However, Spanish police have since been told by Dubai officials that Dawes will not be considered for extradition until his sentence for money laundering offences is completed. They have refused to tell the Spanish authorities how long that will be and Dawes has boasted to associates that he will be free shortly after bribing Dubai officials and paying out £1 million for bail. Dawes is known to have at least four false passports and law enforcement agencies fear he could flee Dubai before facing extradition.
When confronted Nasr admitted he was friends with members of the Karzai family and Robert Dawes but denied he was involved in any criminality.
He said: “I have not done anything criminal. How can I have done anything wrong as I have not been arrested.
“Is it a crime to be friends with certain people. This is a crazy situation. Listen, be very, very careful what you print,” he said.
Jamil Karzai denied when confronted that he knew anyone called Raphael Nasr or Robert Dawes.
He said: “Are you trying to blackmail me? I speak with lots of people lots of the time. I am a political figure so people want to speak with me. I have been to Dubai several times and maybe I get to meet with ex-pats there in restaurants from time to time. I do not know this man. I totally deny knowing these people [Nasr and Dawes],” he said.
Robert Dawes was named in Dutch court papers as the man responsible for ordering the murder of innocent schoolteacher Gerard Meesters, shot eight times on his doorstep in Groningen, Holland in November 2002. The shooting was believed to have been carried out in revenge for Meesters’ sister Janette stealing a tonne of cannabis resin from Dawes’ organisation. Daniel Sowerby was jailed for life in 2007 for the shooting and his accomplice Steven Barnes received an eight year sentence. Both refused to testify against Dawes for fear of reprisals against their relatives. Dawes, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, has been targeted across Europe by crime fighting agencies and has figured in eight separate national investigations in the UK since 2001 including the most recent Operation Halbert led by SOCA. So far he has evaded capture for the crimes he is wanted for.

A law enforcement source in the UK  who has investigated Dawes said: “He is a highly dangerous man who has global connections, uses complex codes in order to communicate with associates and has the ability to corrupt law enforcement officials through access to vast amounts of money made through large scale drug smuggling.It seems more than good fortune that 10 years after he first appeared on the radar in the UK he has yet to face a British court. “

Depressing news from Spain…….

Trevor Wade in happier times

For the past year I have been actively supporting the plight of  a Lincolnshire pensioner who was arrested in Spain after being duped into driving a car which contained £22 million worth of cocaine. Most criminals will tell you they are innocent or have been stitched up and for that reason alone I don’t tend to get involved in miscarriage of justice cases unless there is clear evidence that the person involved is innocent. But I have absolutely no doubt that the case of  Trevor Wade passes that test. The full details of Trevor’s plight can be found on a  Facebook page set up to highlight his case, so I won’t duplicate those details here but in short the biggest problem is that Trevor has been held in prison now, without trial, since September 2007. Today I feel an overwhelming sense of anger and sadness after I learned that his lawyer believes a trial may not take place until April 2011. It is frankly shocking that a 66-year-old man in poor health, against whom there is no evidence other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, can be left to rot in a foreign prison without trial for almost three years. I do not blame the Spanish for Trevor’s plight, they were only following the trail given to them by British investigators at the Serious Organised Crime Agency. SOCA has admitted it has no evidence on Trevor Wade but says it cannot interfere in the judicial process of a foreign power. Ditto the Foreign Office. But the fact is they don’t appear to be doing anything else to resolve the matter either, almost as if to say they would rather it was swept under the carpet than admit when a costly mistake has been made. If this had been a case of a foreign national in the UK then Trevor would undoubtedly be home with his family by now, either because there was no case to answer or through abuse of process rules. Even in the unlikely event he had gone to trial in the UK he would certainly have been given bail until the date of the hearing. At present he is struggling to survive the regime in Leon Prison where the odd piece of Spanish Tortilla is often the only food he looks forward to eating. If there is anybody out there, either in SOCA or the Foreign Office, who has a conscience I would suggest that now is the time to make yourself known because all the apologies and platitudes in the world are going to mean nothing to Trevor’s family if he ends up living out his last days in that Spanish cell.

The age of organised crime is upon us…..

Earlier this week the Met’s chief Sir Paul Stephenson indicated that dealing with organised crime was the biggest challenge that would face the UK’s law enforcement agencies in the coming years . He rightly raised concerns about how, in the current economic climate, police forces and the criminal justice system – faced with making huge budget cuts – would be able to meet the challenges of organised crime. The public could be forgiven for thinking that the agency specifically charged with combating the problem the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) , now in its fifth year, is on top of the problem. 
In fact SOCA is only dealing with the top tier of criminals and most of the middle and lower tier criminal gangs which are operating now out of Britain’s housing and industrial estates fall under the radar of SOCA. As a result these gangs are being left to grow perniciously because the specialist units which local police forces have to deal with them are few and far between. More than that these specialist units are the very ones that may be at risk when the current round of budget cuts being considered by all police authorities come into play. In Nottinghamshire it was this very scenario – the dismantling of its major crime unit and drugs squad, in 2000/2001 – which contributed to the rise in power of gangsters such as Colin Gunn from the city’s Bestwood estate. In today’s Telegraph there is a further warning about how organised crime is being imported imported and yet this is a problem that has been festering for some years; staring the politicians in the face. Perhaps a way forward would be for police forces which share geographical county borders to pool their resources into regional specialist units to tackle organised crime such as the East Midlands Special Operations Unit which uses the resources of five police forces to tackle organised crime and middle tier drugs dealers. Ultimately it will be for the politicians to decide where the axe falls on the ever thinning blue line, but if Sir Paul Stephenson is correct the UK could be in for a rocky ride ahead with the economic conditions giving rise to more wannabe Tony Sopranos than it can handle.