Two men have been arrested over an alleged scam to claim £500,000 through the government’s coronavirus “bounce bank” loan scheme.
Police believe the main suspect – a man in his late 40s – had been recruiting people to set up fake companies and bank accounts to launder money.
Detectives have so far been given permission to freeze 10 accounts containing a total of £553,305.
Police said officers learned the owner of the vehicle, a man in his early 20s, had travelled some distance to meet a man in order to set up a bank account, for which it was agreed he would be paid £300.
Both the younger man and the main suspect were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and fraud on the same day.
The suspects were taken to a north London police station and have since been released under investigation while police enquiries continue.
Following the arrests, officers searched a residential address in Hounslow.
They found several application forms from a number of suspected fake companies to their banks in request of “bounce back loans” – a government scheme to help small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Detective Sergeant Neil Stanley, from the Metropolitan Police’s economic crime unit, said: “I would like to assure the public that we take a zero-tolerance approach to fraud-related criminality of any kind within our community, and we are committed to bringing those involved to justice.
“During these unprecedented times, we have intensified our effort to dismantle organised criminal networks and will continue to crackdown on individuals who are found to be exploiting government schemes for their own monetary gain.”