An investigation into a complex international money laundering operation led to arrests in Australia, India and the UK, and the deregistration of several Australian remittance service providers who were laundering money by substituting legitimate international transfers with the proceeds of crime.
What to look out for
- Multiple structured cash deposits from third parties into a bank account.
- Structured financial transactions in personal and business names.
- Unusual transactions through business accounts, suggesting the account is being used for unregistered remittance activity.
A law enforcement investigation identified an extensive international network of remittance service providers laundering millions of dollars out of Australia on behalf of organised crime syndicates.
Australia-based crime syndicate members used the remittance network to exchange funds obtained through criminal activities for legitimate, or ‘clean’, funds held overseas. The network, which operated mainly out of India but also had connections to the UK and the US, used Australian bank accounts, corporate structures and complicit remitting agents in Australia and overseas to launder the funds.
The investigation identified Australian bank accounts that were receiving multiple cash deposits, structured to avoid triggering any threshold transaction reports (TTR) by the banks. Further investigation connected the account holders with property purchases, and large amounts of cash suspected to be the proceeds of crime. The funds in the accounts were also shown to be inconsistent with the income tax declarations of the account holders.
Law enforcement in Australia, India, the US and the UK made a number of arrests. Two offenders in Australia were arrested and charged with offences relating to dealing in the proceeds of crime, while three offenders in India were charged on drug trafficking and money laundering offences.
Authorities seized around AU$10 million in assets.
AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence contributed to the investigation. We cancelled the registrations of several remittance providers that were involved in the money laundering scheme.