Selling "SKY ECC" phones to traffickers, 3.3 years in prison for an Albanian in Belgium, also accused of money laundering

2024-04-12 18:19:55 / AKTUALITET ALFA PRESS

Selling "SKY ECC" phones to traffickers, 3.3 years in prison for an
Two businessmen who made money selling "SKY ECC" coded phones have been sentenced to heavy prison terms by the Antwerp court in Belgium. Singh K., 31, and Elton L., 30, sold the phones for years to people who benefited from secret communications. In addition, they may be linked to the laundering of hundreds of thousands of British pounds, possibly from the drug world.

Singh K. and Elton L. are just two of the names that surfaced when the SKY ECC legal investigation hole suddenly opened in March 2021. The encrypted chat service was then hit by the federal police's cyber unit, causing readable suddenly hundreds of millions of messages from the drug world. However, their business was not so much about the cocaine itself. Singh and Elton were among the so-called 'resellers' who sold their "SKY" coded devices to illegal drug dealers. If you need secret communications for your shady business, you should go to them.

This also became evident when the police raided the house of Singh Khurana and his brother on March 9, 2021. His brother was found with more than 89 thousand euros in cash. He claimed that at least €71,000 of this was income from his night shop. At Singh's home, investigators found several mobile phones and smartphones in his bedroom dressing room, as well as 15,000 euros in cash.

Singh admitted that he sold SKY equipment. He did so under the online pseudonym "Antonio Reseller". His friend Elton L. was nicknamed "Cameleon". In his house, the police found over 23,000 euros in cash. But that was not all. In the various chat groups they were active in, large sums of money were discussed in a structured manner. "Brittenley, 80 thousand pounds" is just one such example. According to the investigators, there are sufficient reasons to believe that the pair were also involved in money laundering practices.

Nonsense, says Singh. Those conversations were about their uncle's business selling face masks in the UK. Singh told the police that he had documents to prove this, but he never produced them.

Yet the evidence seemed clear. So-called 'pins' that investigators were able to connect to the user devices of the two men regularly communicated with each other for extremely large sums of money. Elton L. denied that the drink belonged to him, but most of the communication was in Albanian, his native language. His pin also shared some photos of Tennis Club Linkeroever, with the message that he would register there. Three days later, someone named Elton L. signed up there. Furthermore, L. had only limited statutory income, partly because he occasionally played football abroad. A few items were also found in his home, such as a small scale and traces of cocaine, which indicated a less than clean relationship.

"The court finds that the cash was hidden, kept, counted, distributed and handed over or exchanged," the verdict states. “This involved counting money, 'tokens' and codes, brokers in the UK and Belgium, money transfers to different countries, almost always extensive reporting to the client on amounts and exchange rates. The "SKY" app was also deliberately used for anonymity, where it was repeatedly emphasized that the content of messages should be handled with care and people were worried about police checks.

It was completely unbelievable that the amounts were related to the sale of face masks. Both suspects pleaded not guilty because they felt that their guilt had not been proven and the illegal origin of the money found could not be proven. However, the Public Prosecution requested 54 months in prison for both. Strong allegations, although Singh was also convicted of forgery three years ago.

The final decision was softer, but still strong. Singh received 4 years in prison and a fine of 32,000 euros. For Elton, the sentence was 40 months and a 16 thousand euro fine. The judge declared a total amount of 139 thousand euros confiscated.


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