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Money Laundering Investigation Leads to Seizure of Canberra Properties, Vehicles, and Cash

  • Richard Marley
  • August 01, 2022
  • 3 minutes read
  • 20
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Assets worth over $10 million have been seized after an international investigation into money laundering activities in Canberra

The authorities of Canberra have seized assets of over $10 million after the international money laundering investigations. An ACT-based man was also charged in part of the AML investigations. The AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) has seized eight houses in Canberra including four luxury cars, a number of high-end goods, cash, and cryptocurrency.

On Thursday (28 July), officers in Canberra carried out search warrants at two homes and a storage facility, where they discovered more than $1.5 million in cash hidden in one home. Additionally reviewed and taken for further forensic analysis were documents and electronic devices.

One case of dealing with goods reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime ($100,000 or more) was brought against a 35-year-old male, with a potential sentence of three years in jail.

The AFP alleged the man of using “sophisticated transactions” to launder the cash and crypto assets from the sale of stolen personal identities and illegal goods alongside fraudulent activities such as online scams and illicit gambling.

It would also be alleged that the man had a significant number of assets as the proceeds of crime including 8 real-estate assets, 4 luxury cars worth over $800,000, 28 bank accounts and nearly $600,000 of cryptocurrency.

The search warrants and freezing of assets were part of operation Nairana, which began late in 202 when the FBI and the US internal revenue service (IRS), as part of the Joint Chief of global tax enforcement (J5) reported the Australian-based person for using the crypto channels to launder money.

The commander of AFP Scott Raven said that the money laundering activities were a threat to the country’s economy and national security.

“Money laundering is also heavily used to fund further criminal activities that impact our community’s safety,” he said.

“The AFP has a unique ability to disrupt groups suspected of criminal activity where it hurts them the most, seizing their profits and preventing them from using those funds in future ventures.

The FBI prioritises domestic and international collaborations to combat money laundering globally, according to FBI Legal Attaché Nitiana Mann.

“It is because of our collaboration with law enforcement and intelligence partners that outcomes like this continue to exemplify our commitment to protect the integrity of our financial systems,” she said.

The AFP, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, and Australian Border Force all contributed resources and experience to the CACT, which was created to track down, seize, and destroy criminally obtained property.

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