A MAN on benefits, who was caught carrying nearly £70,000 in cash in his ruck-sack through the port of Holyhead, has failed in a bid to get the cash returned to him.
Abdelwahab Bdeer, aged 58, of Kensington in London, claimed the cash was legitimate – but gave various explanations for its origins.
Today (Thursday, May 15) his appeal against the confiscation of the money was rejected – after a judge branded him “an unsatisfactory and devious witness”.
Judge Philip Hughes, sitting with two magistrates, said that he was entirely satisfied that the money was recoverable under the Proceeds of Crime Act, that it was gained either through tax evasion or was intended for future unlawful purposes – some kind of sophisticated and determined money laundering exercise.
He said that there was no merit in the appeal and ordered Bdeer to pay £5,600 towards the costs of North Wales Police.
Llandudno magistrates originally ordered that the £69,000 be confiscated.
Bdeer was first arrested under anti-terrorism legislation at Holyhead in October 2011 as he disembarked from an Irish ferry.
At first he refused to give police his details.
But he then said that the money was his life savings which he had taken to Ireland to invest – but found the rates of interest were not as good as he believed they should be and that he had brought the money back.
He told how he worked as an accountant but in court said that he was a book-keeper.
But in evidence he said that he had taken the money to Ireland to help pay for legal proceedings to ensure his wife and sister could lawfully remain in Ireland.
The judge said that the defendant had also claimed at one stage that the money had come from Egypt.
The court heard how the case involving the cash had been listed 18 times but the defendant had not attended once and failed to meet legal directions made by the court.
Judge Hughes said that when the claimant provided information about his activities that information was sparse and reluctantly given.