Two people living in New Zealand were questioned by local police as part of an investigation which unravelled how a UK woman laundered nearly a $1 million to keep up with the extravagant lifestyle of football superstar Gareth Bale.

The pair were not extradited back to face criminal prosecution in Wales - because one of them suffered from serious health problems - but their evidence formed part of the police case which convicted her.

Emma Jane Cummings lived the high life to splurge on exotic holidays, expensive homes and luxury cars including a Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW.

The 30-year-old from Cardiff has been friends with Bale, one of the highest paid players in the world for Real Madrid, and his fiancee Emma Rhys-Jones for many years.


She used her ill-gotten gains to copy their opulent lifestyle and often went on holiday with them, according to the Daily Mail.

"I think Cummings dreamed of the same riches as Emma but wasn't lucky enough to meet one of the world's top footballers," a source close to Bale told the tabloid.

"Emma was shocked and in tears when she heard her close friend had been sent to prison."

Cummings will miss the couple's wedding in an Italian castle after she was last month sentenced to 18 months in prison after being part of a money-laundering scheme run by her former boyfriend Ebrahim Ege. He was jailed for four years after the lengthy inquiry codenamed Operation Dogstar.

Ebrahim Ege ran the money-laundering operation.
Ebrahim Ege ran the money-laundering operation.

"People who engage in money laundering provide a service to those who commit crime by cleaning the cash. It can then be used and appear to come from legitimate sources," financial investigator Lee Jones, of the South Wales Police, said in a statement.

"Cash from unknown sources was used to purchase high-value prestige vehicles and a number of properties in the Cardiff area."

The property and cars were often registered in Cummings' name, to disguise the identity of the true owner, and her bank accounts were also used to launder the cash.

The conspirators lived an extravagant lifestyle with regular trips to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other long-haul destinations often staying at five-star resorts, said Jones.


"It doesn't matter how complicated criminals make their financial affairs or how long they think they have got away with it, even if they have created a so called legitimate persona, law enforcement will unravel it, come knocking on their door and look to recover any proceeds or benefit that originated from their criminal activity."

Investigators in Operation Dogstar made inquiries throughout the United Kingdom and across the globe, including Canada, India, Dubai and New Zealand.

The Herald can reveal two suspects emigrated to New Zealand shortly after the investigation began.

Lee Jones arranged for the suspects to be interviewed by New Zealand police in Cambridge.

The Welsh police suspected the pair used their business as a cover for money laundering, although both denied any wrongdoing in their interviews with New Zealand police.

While extradition back to the United Kingdom was considered, the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public interest to do so as one of them had suffered serious health problems.

"However, some of the material generated by the New Zealand Police was still used as part of the prosecution case," said a spokesman for the South Wales Police.