Five members of a money laundering group that processed millions of pounds have been sentenced.

The group, which is believed to have laundered millions of pounds over nine months, centred on two money transfer businesses based in High Road, North Finchley, and was led by Iranian-born Ciavash Pishehvarz, 60, from Stancroft, Colindale. 

A total of five people have now been sentenced.

Pishehvarz and Mahmood Saadat, 44, of Stateland Court, Arnos Grove, were sentenced for nine years between them last Friday at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Elyass Benelabed, 59, of Fulham Court, Fulham, was sentenced to two years last February, while Mohammed Korejany, 40, of North End Road, Golders Green, received a four-year and ten month sentence in December 2013, and his wife Solmaz Jalali, 31, was given a two-year suspended sentence.

In September 2011, Korejany and Benelabed were arrested after an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) found that they were using an Ikea car park in Wembley to hand over illicit cash.

Each time, large cash payments would be received at a money transfer business, run by Korejany and Jalali from premises in North Finchley.

The money would then be broken up by Korejany, Jalali and Saadat, who would pay it into bank accounts and cash machines across north London, in an effort to hide the scale.

Pishehvarz and Jalali were arrested in July 2012. A total of £50,000 was found at Pishehvarz’s address, along with a memory stick which contained a ledger, among its entries the cash handed over by Benelabed. The total of all the entries in the ledger was £9.25 million.

Searches of the two money transfer businesses, both run out of the same address, found paying in slips worth just under £2 million for a nine month period.

Investigators also found evidence of the group’s links to other organised criminals.

Oliver Higgins, NCA branch commander, said: “These men were professional money launderers responsible for processing millions of pounds of criminal cash during a period of just nine months.

“As well as pursuing money launderers, NCA continues to work with the financial sector to protect businesses and individuals.”