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Telford man claimed smuggled £700k found at Dover was for charity to 'help fight Ukraine war'

A man who tried to smuggle £700,000 out of the UK claimed it was charity money destined to help fight the war in Ukraine.

Evgeniy Kamenshtik's Audi was stopped at Dover on July 27 where officers discovered the cash packed into 63 heat-sealed bags.

He was stopped at Dover docks
He was stopped at Dover docks

Canterbury Crown Court was told the packages were divided between a suitcase, two holdalls, and behind the car boot side panels.

Kamenshtik, 36, had initially claimed to be travelling to Romania to see his sick grandmother, before changing his account to say he was attending her funeral.

However, prosecutor Ben Irwin said that once the money had been discovered, he revealed he was to be paid up to £5,000 to deliver the cash, having been told it was destined for a charity and which he believed would help fund the Ukrainian war.

A forfeiture order of the cash had previously been made in the magistrates' court but that is now being appealed, "seemingly on behalf of a Ukrainian charity", the court was told.

"That, perhaps, provides some support for the defendant's account," added Mr Irwin.

Vehicle trader Kamenshtik, who lives in Dinthill in Telford, Shropshire, and has been in the UK for 10 years, pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property.

He was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court
He was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court

Passing sentence earlier this month, Recorder Amy Nicholson rejected his claim that £5,000 cash found in heat-sealed bags when stopped on a previous occasion was "mere coincidence" and said she viewed that trip as a possible "test-run".

Finding that he had therefore played a "crucial" role in the smuggling enterprise and had not been "coerced, intimidated or exploited" but motivated by money, she jailed Kamenshtik for three years.

"You knew full well that you were attempting to smuggle out of the country a great deal of money, and knew or suspected that this money generated from criminal conduct," Recorder Nicholson told him.

"Because of the previous incident, it doesn't appear this was an opportunistic one-off. You also had a good understanding of the extent of the activity. You knew where the money was in the vehicle and you would have been aware of the significant quantity.

"Deterrent sentences have to be imposed to make it clear that those involved in organised crime will receive immediate custodial sentences."

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