Prosecutors ask court to approve forfeiture of millions in massive international money laundering case

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Posted at 7:47 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 19:47:02-04

(WXYZ) — Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Michigan have asked the court to approve the forfeiture of around $12 million in cash they allege was funneled through a massive money operation between the US and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The forfeiture documents call the money laundering operation "The Shadow Exchange" and allege that some of the laundered funds were used by an illegal drug operation in Michigan to buy armored vehicles. No other details are given about the location or nature of the drug operation.

The millions in funds have been seized from a number of financial institutions, including Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of American, Mashreq Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and Deutsche Bank. The money was seized in two instances. The first came in December 2020/January 2021 and the second in May 2021. Today's filing asks the court to authorize the US Treasury to keep the cash.

The complaint alleges that shell corporations, mostly based in Dubai, were used to funnel the money through the banks using fake invoices and other methods to disguise the money's origins. Among the 'clients' of the organization, according to the complaint, is one international criminal organization. However, no details about it are presented.

The complaint also does not name any specific person linked to the money laundering operation and it is not clear if anyone has been arrested in the case.