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$62 million money laundering syndicate dismantled

13 December 2021

Intelligence provided by AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance has led to the disruption of a $62 million money laundering syndicate in Melbourne and the seizure of illegal firearms, luxury motor vehicles and illicit cash and drugs.

In 2020, AUSTRAC working collaboratively with the major banks established a project targeting criminals laundering money through Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs).

In February 2021, the Victoria Police commenced an investigation using AUSTRAC financial intelligence that helped police identify a money laundering syndicate who were depositing the proceeds of their different crimes at ATMs in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

The investigation involved collaboration between Victoria Police’s Criminal Proceeds Squad, Purana Taskforce and the Financial Crime Squad, as well as AUSTRAC and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Working with Victoria Police, AUSTRAC intelligence identified the purchase of bank accounts used to launder the proceeds of crime. The major banks, via AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance, also provided significant intelligence throughout the investigation which helped to identify and target the criminals and provide new leads to the Victoria Police.

On 14 October 2021, the Victoria Police arrested five people as a result of the investigation. They will be charged with proceeds of crime offences under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995. Four of the people arrested were not known to police and had no history of criminal offending.

The AUSTRAC-led Fintel Alliance third party cash project played an important role in dismantling this major money laundering syndicate and has led to the further disruption of other criminal syndicates operating in Perth and Melbourne.

As a result of the success of this project the major banks have all taken steps to limit funds deposited through ATMs. These controls have significantly impacted the ability of serious and organised crime groups to launder criminal proceeds at ATMs.

What can I do to help prevent crimes like this?

AUSTRAC and our partners are committed to protecting the Australian community and keeping the financial system free from criminal abuse.

Your financial transaction reports and suspicious matter reports (SMRs) help AUSTRAC to provide actionable intelligence to our law enforcement partners to disrupt serious crimes. If you identify any suspicious transactions, please submit a SMR to AUSTRAC. With your help, we can protect the Australian community.