“I have no doubt you knew it was going to be drug money.”
Pritpal Singh Johal has been jailed for two years and three months for his involvement in transporting drug money.
The businessman’s activity came to light after his friend was arrested on January 15, 2014.
Birmingham Mail reports Johal drove his ‘friend’ in his Mercedes to Hertz in Birmingham, where the ‘friend’ rented a Ford Cougar.
The Ford was spotted in Leeds and eventually stopped by the police, with £189,820 found in the boot.
Prosecutor Peter Byrne told the Leeds Crown Court that the banknotes were grouped in 38 bundles, all contaminated with cocaine and heroin.
In addition, two mobile phones were seized by the police, who then discovered connection to Johal’s phone.
Johal at first claimed he did not know the driver and was not aware of the cash held in a holdall in the car.
He later changed his story to say he had introduced the driver to the staff at the car rental company in Birmingham.
Johal also stated that he originally thought the stash of money found was ‘tax evasion cash’, and not drug money.
However, judge Mr Justice Males rebutted, saying: “It was clearly drug money – I have no doubt you knew it was going to be drug money.
“I’m quite sure you knew the world they came from was the world of drug dealers.
“No doubt that explains why you are not prepared to name them or provide information about them.”
Defence lawyer, Ranjit Lallie, commented: “This man of high moral standards was at an all-time low.”
Lallie went on to tell the court Johal was forced into arranging money collection in face of a huge debt.
In 2007, Johal and his family purchased a property worth £1.2 million in Birmingham.
But luxury turned into burden when the global financial crisis and banking collapse hit them hard.
In order to keep up with payments, they had been borrowing money and selling off family assets for seven years.
Lallie continued: “It had become public knowledge in the Birmingham Sikh community that the Johal family were in difficulties, described as ‘borrowing from Peter to pay Paul’.”
The 35-year-old businessman is the Director of Camelot Investment Ltd from 2006 and 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile and a website called ‘Company Check’.
Also known as the ‘pillar of society’, Johal of Handsworth Wood will now serve his time behind bars.
His friend, the driver, has been cleared of any criminal involvement, insisting he was just doing his job as a courier.