Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Underworld bankers Daniel Keenan and Andrew Barnett who laundered £17m of drug money are jailed


Two underworld bankers who laundered more than £17million in drug money have been jailed for a total of 17 years. Daniel Keenan, 41, and Andrew Barnett, 45, used a stolen identity to clean up proceeds from a massive cocaine and heroin dealing operation by making currency exchanges They were caught out when police stopped Barnett with £500,000 in cash stuffed into a satchel. The pair were subsequently linked to Ian Kiernan, who was jailed for 20 years in 2001 for his key role in one of Britain's biggest-ever drug smuggling plots. Andrew Barnett (left) and Daniel Keenan (right) laundered the vast proceeds from a cocaine and heroin ring by making currency exchanges Barnett was stopped on 26 November 2009 near Marble Arch carrying a satchel found to contain 535,000 euros in 200 euro notes. He also had a receipt from a nearby money service bureau called Interchange. Convicted blackmailer Keenan contacted the police station a few days later, claiming he had asked Barnett to carry out the transaction, and was promptly arrested on suspicion of money laundering. Investigations revealed Keenan used a stolen identity to set up his Interchange account. Since opening the account in April 2008, Keenan and Barnett had made more than 300 transactions totaling more £17million. The money was generally brought in for exchange in £20 notes in large bags. The pair admitted money laundering but initially claimed the cash came from illicit gambling on horse racing. But after a two-day hearing at Southwark Crown Court they admitted knowing that that bundles of cash had come from drug deals. This is some of the money recovered by police from the pair, who were caught when officers stopped Barnett with £500,000 worth of currency stuffed into a satchel Jailing Keenan for 11 years and Barnett for six years, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said the offences were 'hugely successful' and committed while Keenan was on license from prison. He told Keenan: 'Interchange was visited more than 400 times as you or others delivered cash amounting to a total of £17.5million. 'I accept that initially you thought you were being used to launder the proceeds of illegal gambling. 'But eventually the amounts of money involved must have made it clear that they could only come from the most serious of crimes - sale of Class A drugs. 'You yourself signed for 58 deliveries amounting to £12million while your assistant Mr Barnett signed for about £5 million. 'When police detained Mr Barnett you came up with a number of explanations and produced quantities of false paperwork to try and justify your business which included the use of other people's identities.' Daniel Keenan is here seen on CCTV counting out huge piles of banknotes. Keenan and Barnett laundered more than £17million in organised crime profits Barnett had claimed he was simply acting on behalf of Keenan and was paid £200 each time he want to the Interchange. Drug baron Ian Kiernan had been jailed for 20 years and banned from racecourses for 10 years after a Jockey Club investigation found he was involved in corruption in horseracing. The head of the syndicate, Brian Wright - dubbed The Milkman because he always delivered - was jailed for 30 years in 2007. The link between Kiernan, described as the drug ring's storeman, and the launderers was only discovered in December when police investigated Keenan's mobile phone records. Prosecutor Mark Fenhalls said: 'When Mr Keenan's phone records were looked at they showed that that most of the calls were made to his partner, then his mum, and then Kiernan, in that order.' He was found to have been in contact with Kiernan - who was on temporary licence from HMP Latchmere - on all but one of the days on which transactions of more than £400,000 were processed. Keenan was serving a five-year sentence for blackmail and consiring to defraud the clothes shop Monsoon when he met Kiernan in jail. The court heard Barnett visited Kiernan in prison in 2003, Mr Fenhalls said it was 'inconceivable that Barnett... did not know that he was assisting Keenan to launder the proceeds of cocaine dealing on a vast scale. 'No other explanation or inference sensibly arises from the available evidence.' Barnett, of Twickenham, Middlesex and Keenan, of Egham, Surrey, admitted converting criminal property. Keenan also admitted fraud by false representation, having a fake passport and possession of articles used in fraud, a fake bank card.