money mule | 

Glamour model charged with smuggling £5m in criminal cash into Dubai

Jo Emma Larvin (43) who once dated boxer Joe Calzaghe, is among 12 people charged in connection with a multi-million pound money smuggling operation

Jo Emma Larvin

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A glamour model who led a celebrity lifestyle has appeared before a court in London accused of smuggling £5m of criminal cash into Dubai

Jo Emma Larvin (43) who once dated boxer Joe Calzaghe, is among 12 people charged in connection with a multi-million pound money smuggling operation.

Isleworth Crown Court heard that Larvin, who lives in Ripon, allegedly hid cash in suitcases as she flew out of Heathrow on two occasions in 2020.

Smugglers like Larvin would be paid around £3,000 plus expenses, it was claimed.

Larvin's partner Jonathan Johnson (55) is alleged to have travelled with her on her second trip to Dubai.

The couple both deny removing criminal property from the UK, along with their co-accused; Amy Harrison (27) of Worcester Park, Surrey, Beatrice Auty, (26) of Fulham, west London, and Liam Rabone (29) of West Kensington, London.

Members of the smuggling ring would fly business class to take more luggage that would be packed with ordinary holiday items to disguise the cash, the court was told.

Prosecutors claim Larvin and Harrison smuggled an estimated £2.2m in seven cases in August 2020. It was added that £2.8m was smuggled by Larvin and Johnson on a trip in September 2020 in eight cases.

Jurors heard that Auty took three trips to Dubai but on the third trip the cases were intercepted by the National Crime Agency.

Auty has further been accused of assisting with 11 other trips, while Harrison is accused of two other trips as well as the one she made with Larvin smuggling around £6m.

Rabone is accused of taking three trips with a similar total.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher KC said each of the defendants is alleged to have played a significant part in the transportation of very large amounts of cash.

“English and Scottish banknotes (were flown out) to Dubai from Heathrow,” he said.

“Millions of pounds worth, carried in suitcases checked in as luggage as they were flying as passengers.”

Mr Christopher told jurors the defendants' involvement would "likely not be in dispute".

However, the jury would need to decide firstly whether the money was from the proceedings of crime, and secondly, whether the accused "knew or suspected it was".

The court heard that organiser Abdulla Alfalasi organised 83 successful trips over 18 months - the defendants were involved in 16. Two more were unsuccessful.

Mr Christopher said: “The total amount of cash removed in those 83 occasions is in the region of £100m.”

Mr Christopher said the smugglers' suitcases would typically contain up to £500k.

Anything over 10,000 Euros leaving the EU has to be declared to HMRC.

He added: "If these were declared at Heathrow the likelihood is that they would be detained until the source of the money could be determined. So the people carrying the cash had to keep quiet about the cash in the cases as they checked the cases in.”

Jurors heard that the smugglers would declare the cash once arriving in Dubai, handing over a letter authorising them to carry it from a company called Omnivest - owned by Alfalasi. Sometimes authorities would check the amount and give them a currency declaration form.

Mr Christopher said: “Then the couriers would have a few days in Dubai before flying back with cases that were very considerably lighter than when they went out - so they could be used again. Their expenses were paid for, their hotel accommodation, and they were paid something like £3,000 each for the trip.”

Larvin and Johnson were arrested in March 2022.

The pair divide their time between a home in Ripon, North Yorkshire and luxury hotels in Dubai.

On her Instagram profile Larvin has posted pictures of glamorous holidays they have enjoyed in the Maldives and Tanzania.

It has been reported that she runs a lifestyle firm called Larvin Life and describes her interests as “wildlife, safari and interiors”.

Just a day after being bailed she posted a picture on her Facebook page of herself on a beach in Scotland.

The caption reads: “Love love love the Scottish Highlands. So ruggedly wild and beautiful, like another world. UK road tripping.”

In an interview a year after they split up Larvin revealed how boxer Joe Calzaghe – dubbed the Pride of Wales – got jealous of other men and how he put an end to her catwalk career

Larvin turned to photography after her six-year relationship with the Welsh boxing legend Calzaghe ended in 2009, shortly before he began seeing his Russian Strictly dance partner Kristina Rihanoff.

In an interview a year after they split up Larvin claimed the boxer got jealous of other men and how he put an end to her catwalk career.

She revealed: “Joe didn’t like me doing a lot of the modelling stuff – anything that involved another man. I remember one audition for a coffee advert, which would have me involved me shooting with a male model and he was adamant I shouldn’t do it.

“It was classic male jealousy, which I can understand. But he’s possessive and controlling, which he would admit himself. And he really didn’t like me talking to other men.”

The trial continues.

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