Jason Guo, 27, was arrested on suspicion of money laundering offences as police seized a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce in Stow-on-the-Wold. He and a second person arrested in Gloucestershire have since been released on bail.
Four other people were also arrested in dawn raids on Wednesday on seven properties in some of the capital’s most affluent areas, including Notting Hill.
Three women aged 29, 28, and 67, and a 30-year-old man were arrested by the Met’s Modern Day Slavery Investigation Team – part of their Specialist Crime department – on suspicion of modern slavery and proceeds of crime offences.
Police seized cash and about £1million worth of assets including watches and artwork by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol in London.
Guo, who converted Victorian-era Crestow House into a boutique hotel where he is thought to live with his wife and daughter, is allegedly part of an organised crime group believed to be sexually exploiting women at brothels in Westminster.
A businessman was arrested at his luxury Cotswolds hotel (pictured, Crestow House) as police investigate a crime group believed to be sexually exploiting women in London brothels
The majority of the victims, now being safeguarded following the raids, are Chinese, but a minority are thought to be UK nationals and from Romania.
Guo is known locally as a reclusive art collector with a passion for the Cotswolds. He and his wife Paula have transformed Crestow House, a Victorian manor house designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, into a four-star hotel over the past three years.
The hotel includes a residents-only bar, champagnes and wines from a specialist vintner, and even cigars from Central America, according to its website.
His accountant Leo Ho told The Times that he was shocked by the allegations, even suggesting that Guo’s identity might have been stolen.
‘I would be so, so surprised if he did anything like this,’ he said. ‘I didn’t even know they had that kind of property. I don’t believe he could be that kind of person.’
A Rolls-Royce was seized by police in a series of raids on Wednesday in connection to an alleged organised crime group believed to be sexually exploiting women in brothels
A Bentley was seized after a warrant was acquired from Guo’s boutique Cotswolds hotel
Guo was arrested in a Met investigation into an organised crime group believed to be sexually exploiting women at brothels in Westminster.
Brothel Closure Orders have been applied to the four premises that Operation Huai visited, while the victims are being supported by specialist officers.
A second operation by the Met called Operation Martagon focussed on seizing goods they believe to have been acquired using proceeds of crime.
Warrants at a number of London addresses saw officers recover cash and around £1million worth of assets including high value Rolex watches and paintings, which included one showing six tins of chicken soup.
At an address in Gloucestershire, a number of high value assets were claimed including two luxury cars, a Rolls Royce and a Bentley.
Two Rolex watches were seized as assets to the tune of £1million in raids in London
Artwork by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol were also seized by police in London raids
Detective Inspector Grant Anderson, of the Modern Slavery Investigation Team, said: ‘I am delighted that the many months of hard work spent putting this investigation together has resulted in the arrests of six people and, more importantly, that we’ve been able to recover and support vulnerable victims.’
Detective Superintendent Tara McGovern, of the Modern Slavery Investigation Team, said: ‘We are committed to protecting the vulnerable and bringing those responsible for exploiting others to justice. I hope this investigation continues to raise the public’s awareness of this shocking crime and sends a clear message to those involved that we will take robust action.’
Director of Anti-trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army, Major Kathy Betteridge, said: ‘We are really grateful to the police for continuing to prioritise the protection of people being abused through slavery despite all the extra demands currently placed on them as part of their response to the pandemic.’