On 14 January 2016, the National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that a man charged as a specialist money launderer who attempted to launder the proceeds of a bank fraud committed against Commerzbank AG in Germany in 2000 had been ordered by a judge to hand over £4,752,499.27.
Herbert Charles Austin was sentenced to five years and 251 days in December 2011 for being the mastermind of an organised crime group which attempted to launder more than £12 million stolen from Commerzbank in 2000. On 11 January 2016 the judge ruled that Austin must pay more than £4.7 million of the money back to Commerzbank AG.
Austin created a complex international system to wash the stolen money. More specifically, he tried to transfer the stolen money from Commerzbank to the UK by using an additional layer of offshore banks in jurisdictions including the Channel Islands and Cyprus. Austin tried to avoid law enforcement actions by creating an international web of financial transactions that would not be subject to investigation by national authorities. Investigators followed the complex money trail and proved that this money, which was channelled through offshore companies and controlled via trusted associates and faceless administrative nominees, was transferred to the UK.