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Australia Five arrested after alleged $62m money laundering operation

08:05  15 october  2021
08:05  15 october  2021 Source:   9news.com.au

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Five people have been arrested in Melbourne following an investigation linked to one of Australia's largest ever alleged money laundering operations.

The alleged $62 million money laundering operation involved an organised crime syndicate allegedly controlling over 250 bank accounts, which have been used to transfer the millions over the past 12 months.

In a statement, Victoria Police said they received information from AUSTRAC related to suspicious third party deposits in October last year.

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A number of luxury vehicles have been seized including a Porsche, BMW X5, Toyota Landcruiser and Mercedes Coupe C200 following an investigation into alleged money laundering. © Victoria Police A number of luxury vehicles have been seized including a Porsche, BMW X5, Toyota Landcruiser and Mercedes Coupe C200 following an investigation into alleged money laundering.

Third party deposits involve a person depositing funds into another person's account.

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Police allege some of these accounts have been sold by their holders to the crime syndicate for money laundering use, with a "wide variety" of ATMs used across Melbourne to facilitate the illegal process.

"This makes it the largest ever money laundering operation using this methodology in Australia," police said.

Criminal Proceeds Squad detectives yesterday arrested a 32-year-old Burwood man, a 38-year-old Box Hill man, a 32-year-old Blackburn man, a 36-year-old Endeavour Hills man and a 31-year-old Caulfield North woman, following raids across nine residential and commercial properties.

Police swooped on properties in Burwood, Box Hill, Blackburn, Caulfield North, Oakleigh and Endeavour Hills, seizing millions of dollars in cash, along with boxes of illicit tobacco, a cash counter, electrical equipment, jewellery, high-end clothing and sporting memorabilia.

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A number of luxury vehicles were also seized including a Porsche, BMW X5, Toyota Landcruiser and Mercedes Coupe C200.

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A BMW X5 that was seized by police following an investigation into alleged money laundering. © Victoria Police A BMW X5 that was seized by police following an investigation into alleged money laundering. Police seized a Toyota Landcruiser following an investigation into alleged money laundering. © Victoria Police Police seized a Toyota Landcruiser following an investigation into alleged money laundering.

The arrests come after a significant 12-month investigation involving a number of Victoria Police units including the Criminal Proceeds Squad, Purana Taskforce and the Financial Crime Squad, as well as AUSTRAC and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Four of the five people arrested were not known to police.

Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill said the syndicated had allegedly used less traditional venues and outlets associated with money laundering in a "highly mobile and agile operation".

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Police seized a Mercedes Coupe C200 following an investigation into alleged money laundering. © Victoria Police Police seized a Mercedes Coupe C200 following an investigation into alleged money laundering.

"These were people living a quiet and unremarkable life in the Melbourne suburbs, all the while operating a sophisticated criminal enterprise," he said.

"Money laundering is not a victimless crime – these funds are used to operate criminal networks involved in a variety of crime types including the trafficking of drugs and illicit firearms."

AUSTRAC national manager Jon Brewer said its expert financial intelligence was instrumental in identifying and targeting the syndicate.

The Burwood, Box Hill and Blackburn men were all charged with Commonwealth money laundering and structuring charges as well as state proceeds of crime charges.

All three were remanded in custody to face Melbourne Magistrates' Court this morning.

The Endeavour Hills man and Caulfield North woman were both released and expected to be charged on summons.

Police said the investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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