Dutch criminals use potato exports to African countries to launder money
Dutch criminals are increasingly using exports to Africa to launder money which is subsequently invested in diamonds and gold from the continent, Fiscal Information and Investigation Servic (FIOD) chief Bert Langerak has said, according to Dutch News.
Investigations by the tax fraud detection body, whose annual report was published on Monday, has shown that criminals ‘exported’ at least €150m worth of produce, particularly potatoes, to Africa in the last five years.
‘We were always the organisation of ‘follow the money’ but our approach has progressed from there and we’re looking at crypto currency and goods exports as well,’ Langerak, who is stepping down as FIOD director, said in an interview.
Apart from financial hubs such as Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore, countries like Uganda and Kenya have been increasingly playing a role in money laundering schemes, he said.
Langerak said laundering money via agricultural exports and other types of goods is fairly easy in businesses where people still pay in cash.
‘They turn up at the grower’s with a holdall full of €500 notes and pay for a consignment of potatoes in cash in the name of a foreign buyer. The potatoes are exported and sold in another country. Criminal money is mixed in with legal trade and the earnings look as if they are the result of honest business dealings,’ he said.