2 men trick Little India money changer out of $134k with counterfeit notes, arrested in KL airport

Two men used counterfeit notes and sleight of hand to trick a money changer in Little India and steal the equivalent of about $134,000 last year.

The duo were arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Wednesday (July 26) and handed over to Singapore police on Thursday.

Georgians Abralava Irakli, 36, and Darsania Tamazi, 70, were each charged with one count of theft on Friday (July 28).

The police received a report on a case of theft at Monisha Exchange in Serangoon Road on Dec 2.

The two men purportedly approached the money changer on the pretext of exchanging Singapore dollars for euros and US currency.

When presented with 25,000 euros and US$70,000, one of the men placed the money into a black bag with a number lock attached and left the bag with the money changer on the pretext of going to withdraw Singapore currency.

Upon returning, the duo requested the money changer verify the amount in the bag. During the process, the men allegedly swapped the genuine notes with counterfeit notes.

They then left the money changer with the bag, telling him they would return to complete the transaction.

When the two men did not return after a few hours, the money changer opened the bag and discovered that only a 200 euro note, a 500 euro note and a US$100 note were genuine. The other notes beneath were purportedly counterfeit.

Through extensive ground enquiries and with the aid of images from police cameras and CCTV footage, officers from Central Police Division and the Police Operations Command Centre established the identities of Irakli and Tamazi on the same day, but both had left Singapore.

With cooperation and assistance of the Royal Malaysian Police, Irakli and Tamazi were arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, pursuant to warrants of arrest issued by the State Courts on Dec 3.

Their case has been adjourned to Aug 4. For theft, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.