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International crime-fighting effort smashes global money laundering network

Summary

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.

The crime

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.

Penalties

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 role

AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence contributed to the investigation. We cancelled the registrations of several remittance providers that were involved in the money laundering scheme.

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Last updated: 1 Jul 2019
Page ID: 216

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