A DARTFORD man has been jailed and two Bexley men acquitted after a four-week trial on money laundering charges.

Alfred Henderson, aged 63, of Sheridan Court, Dartford, was jailed for 18 months at Blackfriars Crown Court, for his part in an operation which laundered £3m in drugs money through London bureaux de change in just three months.

Also jailed for five years were masterminds Jeffrey Chandler, aged 46, from Lambeth, and Howard Prosser aged 45, of Lucorn Close, Hither Green. Prosser was jailed for an extra three months for contempt of court after refusing to be cross examined.

They offered a service to criminals, taking British money obtained through illegal activities and exchanging it at two London bureaux de change for Dutch guilders, US dollars, Swiss francs and Spanish pesetas.

All three were found guilty of conspiracy to deal in the proceeds of crime or drug trafficking between May and July last year.

But three other men Julian Warwick, aged 31, of Woolwich Road, Abbey Wood, Terry Whitmore, aged 37, of Pickford Lane, Bexleyheath, and William Tume, aged 54, of Kennington walked free after being acquitted.

The court heard all the dirty money went through Chandler and Prosser to "laundrymen" such as Henderson who took it in large bags or holdalls to the two bureaux in Notting Hill.

But undercover customs officers were watching them. Tume, a plumber said he visited Chandler's home to fix a toilet. Whitmore told the court he went there to take out loans and Henderson said he was there in connection with the sale of a bronze statue.

When Chandler was arrested at the Halep bureau, in Notting Hill, he was carrying £200,000. Another £134,000 was found at Henderson's home.

Customs and Excise assistant chief investigator Jim Fitzpatrick said afterwards, customs was looking forward to new powers in the Proceeds from Crime Bill. "The days of dirty money being moved about the country are numbered," he added.

Three men were jailed in Leicester last week for laundering £5.9m through the same Halep bureau, in Notting Hill.

October 15, 2001 9:17