Businessman admits safeguarding millions of pounds of ill-gotten gains.

A RESPECTED Hampstead businessman today admitted to turning a blind eye to criminals using his safety deposit company to store millions of pounds of ill-gotten gains.

Milton Woolf, co-director of Safe Deposit Centres Ltd, saw his business empire crumble on June 2 last year, when an unprecedented 300-strong police operation simultaneously raided his offices in Hampstead, Mayfair and Edgware

Police found a treasure trove of loot including �50m in cash, bags of gold dust worth �10m, valuable paintings, elephant tusks and child pornography.

Appearing at Southwark Crown Court today, Woolf, of West Heath Drive, Golders Green, pleaded guilty to 14 offences, including failure to disclose knowledge of money laundering, possession of firearms and ammunition, theft and possession of counterfeit currency.

Michael Holland QC, prosecuting, said Woolf played a “central figure” within the safe deposit firm.

He said that in the course of running his company Woolf had “paid lip-service to any duty of reporting suspicious activity and any duty that any citizen has to preventing criminals using their facilities.”