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Local Democracy Reporter
Kent Police has uncovered an alleged money laundering ring worth a “staggering” £5.2m in £20 notes.
When the in investigation was launched the Bank of England knew of at least £152,000 of counterfeit cash in circulation.
Chief constable Alan Pughsley told a meeting on Wednesday: “An operation commenced in January with regard to intelligence from the organised crime group counterfeiting currencies.
“Lots of work then commenced over a period including covert and overt work building an intelligence picture until May, where we believed we had identified the premises and believed there was a print run live at that time.
“We went to the address and found two individuals there at the time literally hands on in the middle of counterfeiting a number of £20 notes.”
At least five people have been arrested as part of the alleged conspiracy to print fake notes at a business premises in Beckenham.
Mr Pughsley added: “This is, according to the Bank of England, the biggest ever seizure of £20 notes.
“It would have had significant damage to the UK economy."
Three London homes worth more than £80m have been frozen by the High Court in the second-ever use of anti-corruption orders to stop foreigners laundering cash in the UK.
The Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) were sought last week against a foreign official who was not named in court.
The National Crime Agency has demanded that the subject of the probe explains the source of their wealth.
The homes, which are held by offshore companies, cannot be sold or given a new owner until the investigation is over.
The Treasury Committee has published the government's response to its report in March on economic crime in which it called for new powers for Companies House and extra scrutiny of estate agents.
Nicky Morgan, the MP who chairs the Treasury Committee, said she was disappointed the government had not backed ideas to create a register of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).
But, she said: "The recent announcement of a consultation into the reform of Companies House is timely, and the government should be ambitious in the new powers and resources that it proposes to provide to this vital component of the UK’s defence against economic crime.
“The government is currently assessing whether the power to block a stock market listing on national security grounds is necessary. The committee will follow the government’s conclusions on this closely".