Lycamobile, a T-Mobile MVNO in the US, is facing deep water as its offices in France were raided by authorities for money laundering and fraud allegations. The raid held last Friday resulted to the arrest of nineteen individuals, nine of which were sequentially charged with money laundering a minimum of £13.4 million ($19.65 million) and VAT fraud. Among those who were arrested and charged was the telecom's general manager in France, Alain Jochimek.
The allegations first stemmed from a Buzzfeed video wherein cash collectors from the company were seen dropping backpacks containing hundreds of thousands of pounds at London's post offices last year. The website alleged that the French authorities have pinpointed that this money was suspected to be only a façade put on by shell companies. The cash was actually profits laundered from criminal activities. The telecom company however, denied being involved in any crime as it claimed that the cash drops videotaped on the footage were part of their 'day to day banking' operations.
It is important to note that Lycamobile has been considered as among the largest Conservative Party corporate donors. Since 2011, they have donated £2.2 million ($3.22 million). Last year, they donated half a million pounds or about $730,000. Speaking with regards to this contribution, a spokesperson for the Conservative Party cleared that the donations they received were 'properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission.' The body then publishes these donations as compliance to the rules of the Electoral Commission.
Various news publications tried to get a comment from the company's UK headquarters but failed to do so. Out of the nine people who were charged, eight were released on bail. Only one man was kept in custody by the authorities. The telecom company denied claims against financial malpractice.
Source: The Register