A MAN has been jailed for six years along with 15 conspirators for his role in financing drug importations with a street value of £13m.
Paul Arabskyj, 57, was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of conspiracy to import illegal, synthetic drugs and was jailed after the judge said he had 'an important role in financing the operation'.
Arabskyj and other co-conspirators, from across Yorkshire, were jailed to a total of more than 40 years for their parts in the importation of hundreds of kilos of the Class B drugs.
The court was told that while the gang's ringleader John Halliday managed the operation, complex financial arrangements were put in place to fund the purchase of the drugs and launder the money received.
Property developer and mortgage broker Arabskyj was said to have either invested or loaned money to fund the purchase of the drugs.
When police went to one of Arabskyj's homes at Hunters Lodge, Woolley, he had a Bentley, Mercedes and Rolls Royce parked in the grounds and £116,000 in cash was found in the boot of the Rolls - one note bearing the fingerprint of a known drug supplier.
He organised importation of the drugs and was found guilty in his absence of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug, conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Act and jailed for ten years.
Halliday dealt in bodybuilding supplements and, before April 2010, ran a lucrative sideline in so-called 'legal highs'.
Originally from Bingley, he went on the run and is believed to be in the Philippines.
The drugs were classified as Class B and their importation, sale or possession became illegal in April 2010.
But rather than end his involvement, Halliday set up a highly sophisticated smuggling operation.
The drugs were imported into the country from China and India, through Greece and Germany.
Det Insp Neil Hollis, of West Yorkshire Police's crime division, said: "The drugs importation would not have been able to take place on the scale that it did without the financial assistance of Arabskyj.
"He was a professional in mortgage consultancy and I hope that this case demonstrates that we will pursue those of all walks of life who are involved in money laundering offences."