A MAN laundered hundreds of thousands of pounds obtained from a “sophisticated” operation supplying illegal medicines across Europe.

Michal Lejmel was described as the “mastermind behind the laundering of the proceeds” from the international conspiracies, which sold and distributed various drugs, including erectile dysfunction medicine, fertility treatments and human growth hormone.

Lejmel, aged 42, used various storage facilities in the Bournemouth area for deliveries of the products before collecting them and using a rented office room in Shaftesbury Road, Bournemouth, as a distribution hub to package them for ordered.

He then used a drop and go account at the Oakdale Post Office to send the medicines to a variety of countries following online transactions.

An investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) led to Lejmel and his wife, Paulina Jastrzebska, both of Wellington Road, Bournemouth, being taken to court.

A hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday was told that after a surveillance operation and subsequent arrest of the defendants, a search of the Shaftesbury Road premises was carried out.

This unearthed the majority of the 238,623 doses of illegal medicines that were seized during the course of this investigation. Fifty-one of these doses were controlled drugs of class C.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture: MHRAPicture: MHRA

The total value of drugs seized was estimated to be just shy of £250,000.

Prosecutor Anthony Hucklesby said it was agreed Lejmel received at least £563,000 through the illicit sale of medicines between December 2014 and January 2019.

He laundered this money through 19 bank accounts in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Germany and Wales, which he controlled in his own name and third-party names. He was found to possess false Romanian identity documents.

The court heard Lejmel was involved in a conspiracy to supply various unauthorised medicines over a period of more than two-and-a-half years and a second operation for just under five months involving a conspiracy to supply human growth hormones, controlled drugs of Class C.

Mr Hucklesby said these medicines were unlicensed and contained active ingredients only available through prescription medication.

The prosecutor said Lejmel operated a “convoluted financial web” to receive and “layer” the gains from the conspiracies.

Jastrzebska, aged 41, received £63,000 from her husband’s and third-party bank accounts.

The court heard that Lejmel said his wife only became involved in the money laundering because of his actions.

The MHRA became aware of a storage unit Lejmel had been using at LoknStore in 2018 on the false pretence for storing computer components for his company.

A member of staff at LoknStore was concerned he was not storing what he said after noticing a company label on one of his packages related to the sale of weight loss pills, HIV medicines and steroids. When challenged, Lejmel agreed to terminate his storage contract.

Two further parcels were handed to police by LoknStore which contained unlicensed medicine. An investigator from the MHRA attended and seized another box containing medicines.

Similar set ups were subsequently discovered at other storage facilities including at Big Yellow Storage, Safestore, A Storage, and Ready Steady Store.

Bournemouth Echo: Items found at a storage unit. Picture: MHRAItems found at a storage unit. Picture: MHRA

Parcels were later seized at Dorset Mail Centre in Poole having been dropped off by the defendant at Oakdale Post Office.

In interview, the defendants made no comment, other than Lejmel stating his wife was not involved.

Representing Lejmel, Alex Jamieson told the court his client said it was his own fault that his wife was in court alongside him.

Mr Jamieson said Lejmel had been subject to a “degree of grooming” by others in the conspiracy, at least at the outside.

The court heard he accepted his criminal conduct, he was remorseful and posed a low risk of reoffending.

Judge Stephen Climie sentenced Lejmel to three years and four months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply unauthorised medicines, one count of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of class C, one count of transferring criminal property and two counts of possession of a false identity document with improper intention.

Richard Thomas QC, representing, Jastrzebska, asked the judge to consider a non-custodial sentence for the single offence of possessing criminal property, which she had admitted.

However, Judge Climie said it had to marked with a custodial sentence and he handed down a four-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

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