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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
$27m counterfeit gang jailed
Dollars
The counterfeit money was of "exceptional quality"
Three men who took part in the largest counterfeiting of US dollars ever uncovered by British detectives have been jailed at Worcester Crown Court.

The three, including a former KGB agent from Armenia, laundered the money in Birmingham and London banks.

They were part of a huge European-wide network which stretched to a top IRA dissident and the Russian mafia.

On Friday they were jailed following a joint operation between the United States Secret Service and UK National Crime Squad (NCS) detectives to uncover the distribution network.


The counterfeits themselves were of such exceptional quality that even banks were regularly deceived by them

Judge John Cavell

David Levin, a 36-year-old Armenian of Callow Hill Road, Alvechurch, Worcestershire, and Mark Adderley, 44, of Compton Gardens, Kinver, Staffordshire, were convicted following a two-month trial in April on charges of conspiring to import counterfeit $100 bills and conspiracy to distribute them.

Levin was sentenced to nine years in prison. Adderley received four years.

Terence Silcock, 57, of Mill Close, Blockley, Gloucestershire, had earlier admitted conspiracy to distribute the dollar bills and was sentenced to six years.

'Banks deceived'

Judge John Cavell told the three they were engaged in sophisticated "international crime" involving millions of counterfeit dollars circulating in many countries.

"The counterfeits themselves were of such exceptional quality that even banks were regularly deceived by them.

"Inevitably, the sentences in custody must reflect the very serious level of crime in which you chose to engage," he said.

Network infiltrated

The investigation into the gang was launched when the NCS obtained one of the $100 bills in Birmingham in 1999.

Officers contacted colleagues in the US Secret Service, which led to an 18-month operation to uncover the network.

NCS detectives tracked the three men as they made trips all over Europe to organise the movement of the cash, even posing as buyers to infiltrate the network, the court was told.

Irish Republic

They discovered that Silcock had established links with Sean Garland, described as the "top jolly" of the Official IRA.

With the help of Levin - who had contacts in the Moscow-based mafia after working for the KGB and Russian military intelligence - and Adderley, Silcock had set up a system whereby fake dollars entered the UK via the Irish Republic, the court was told.

The money was laundered for genuine currency in exchanges and banks in Birmingham and London, which was then sent back through the network to Moscow.

'Sophisticated and professional'

Silcock alone had dealt in $4.2m dollars worth of counterfeit dollars when he was arrested in 2000, but the total distribution of counterfeit dollars worldwide is thought to top $27m.

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Smith, of the NCS, said: "This was a sophisticated and professional team operating easily with false passports and documents.

"They were a serious crime team we were dealing with and I think the sentences reflect that."


Click here to go to BBC Hereford and Worcester
See also:

14 Jun 02 | Business
06 Jun 02 | England
11 Apr 02 | UK
19 Feb 02 | England
15 Jan 02 | Business
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