Money launderer’s appeal against his sentence fails

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A MAN convicted of money laundering who claimed his four-year prison sentence was unfair has had his appeal against it dismissed.

Muhiddin Umurzokov (50) asked the Royal Court for a reduction in the sentence and also for the court to lift its recommendation that he be deported after his release.

He was convicted in April of coming to Jersey with Anvarjon Eshonkulov and Batsukh Bataa in order to launder hundreds of pounds of the proceeds of crime.

The trio changed some of the money into US dollars and euros and swapped Jersey banknotes for Bank of England notes. They also paid some into other accounts and spent cash on iPads, iPhones, Apple watches and clothes.

They tried to buy a car and a gold and diamond watch – but were told they could not pay for the items in cash.

Speaking via an Uzbek interpreter, Umurzokov told the Royal Court that he had not benefited from the money.

Umurzokov said he had been pressured into the crime by a criminal gang who were threatening to harm his sister.

He said his four-year sentence was longer than those given to other convicted of money laundering, and that he had already served the equivalent of 18 months.

The court heard that Umurzokov had two small children, the younger of whom was born after his imprisonment.

Advocate Frances Littler, representing Umurzokov, added that he hoped to stay in Jersey and open a business in the Island upon his release.

Through his interpreter he said: ‘I am extremely remorseful. I didn’t realise how serious it was.’

However, Advocate David Hopwood, for the Crown, said the alleged threats to Umurzokov’s sister were irrelevant to his sentence – and that in any case she was now in the UK and so no longer in danger.

He added: ‘The maximum sentence for these offences is 14 years. It cannot be said that four years is manifestly excessive.

‘It is not the case that the sentencing court proceeded on the wrong basis.’

The Jurats agreed and the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, said: ‘We dismiss the appeal.’

Jurats Collette Crill, Steven Austin-Vautier, Kim Averty, Karen Le Cornu and David Le Heuzé were sitting.

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