Man who tried to smuggle £860,000 out of Scotland jailed

Lukas Pokorny turned to crime after his taxi business was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Man who tried to smuggle £860,000 out of Scotland jailed Police ScotlandCrown Office

A man who tried to smuggle almost £900,000 of criminal cash out of Scotland has been jailed for a year.

Lukas Pokorny turned to crime after his taxi business was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 42 year-old was snared at Glasgow Airport last November 8 shortly before he was due to board a flight to Dubai.

UK Border Force officers went on to uncover a total of £867,030 in mixed currencies stashed inside three suitcases.

Money found in Pokorny's luggage. (Crown Office)

Pokorny pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to a charge under the Proceeds of Crime Act of attempting to remove the money from the country.

He sobbed as he returned to the dock to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Lady Stacey told him: “This involved a lot of money. I have to take a view which marks society’s disapproval of people who assist in money laundering.”

The one year sentence was back-dated to November last year when Pokorny was first remanded.

Czech-born Pokorny had originally flown into Edinburgh Airport from Prague on November 7.

He then caught a bus to Glasgow, stopped off at a flat in the city’s Shawlands before spending the night at a Marriott Hotel.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC said Pokorny had arrived in Scotland with only a tan-coloured holdall.

But, by the time, he checked out the hotel near Glasgow Airport, he also had three suitcases.

Around mid-day on November 8, Pokorny headed to catch an Emirates flight to Dubai.

He checked in the three cases, but was soon quizzed by suspicious Border Force officials at the airport.

Pokorny claimed he was going to Dubai for 14 days, but initially insisted he did not know how much was paid for the ticket.

One of the officers noted Pokorny had a “lot of bags” for the trip.

Mr Prentice told the hearing: “He was asked what was in them and he said ‘things for my friends…lots of jackets and gifts…’.”

Pokorny said an associate had a jet ski school in Dubai and that he was going out to work as an instructor.
The cases were opened and a “large quantity” of cash was discovered in each hidden in plastic bags under blue velvet cloth.

Mr Prentice added: “This was indicative of a large scale money laundering operation.”

His QC said Pokorny had previously been of “impeccable character” and had been offered £5,000 to transport the cash.
Brian McConnachie, defending, added: “He had his own business in the Czech Republic.

“When the coronavirus pandemic struck that business was very badly affected.

“The country like the UK was in lockdown, so no one was going out, so, consequently, no one had occasion to call his company.

“He was effectively able to ride out the first lockdown.

“But, he was approached, more than once, by someone he knew that there was a way to earn money.

“The way was to take money from one country to Dubai.”

When the dad ended up strapped for cash, the QC said “against his better judgement”, he resorted to crime.

The person who Pokorny knew was stopped at Heathrow Airport with £1.3m on the same day.

He has since been jailed for 26 months.

Mr McConnachie said Pokorny had “scant knowledge” of where the money came from, but knew it was “obtained in some illegitimate way”.

Prosecutors moved for the cash found on Pokorny to be confiscated.

Lady Stacey ordered this to be paid within seven days.

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