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SMRs spark investigations leading to forfeiture of illicit cash and luxury cars

11 April 2022

Intelligence provided by AUSTRAC has assisted the Australian Federal Police-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) secure the forfeiture of over $2,745,000 in illicit cash and three luxury cars after three separate investigations in Western Australia (WA). As a result, the Supreme Court of WA has ordered the cash and assets be forfeited to the Commonwealth in separate orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

A CACT investigation commenced in 2020 after receiving financial intelligence from AUSTRAC, which identified suspicious account activity and large funds transferred between bank accounts in WA and Thailand. AUSTRAC’s intelligence was the result of a comprehensive suspicious matter report (SMR) submitted by one of our regulated entities. As a result of the investigation into suspected money laundering and tax fraud, more than $1.2 million was seized from an Australian bank account.

This investigation remains ongoing into the source of other funds and the suspect’s business activities. No criminal charges have currently been laid in relation to this matter.

In another matter, AUSTRAC provided support on a traveller at the Perth airport in 2021 which resulted in $545,000 being forfeited to the Commonwealth. The man, now aged 42, has been charged by the AFP with dealing in the suspected proceeds of crime in relation to the seized cash. Extensive SMR reporting from several regulated entities revealed details about the placement of cash, cheques and structured cash withdrawals. The matter is still progressing through the courts in Victoria.

Working closely with CACT, AUSTRAC was also able to provide ongoing intelligence analysis to support a joint drug trafficking and money laundering investigation involving the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and AUSTRAC in November 2020. This investigation resulted in the seizure of more than $1 million in cash and three luxury cars valued at more than $100,000 each. Two men, then aged 37 and 32, were charged as part of the criminal investigation.

For more details on the investigations, please see the AFP Media Release.

Your reporting help us

AUSTRAC and our partners are committed to protecting the Australian community and keeping the financial system free from criminal abuse. Detailed 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, submit a SMR to AUSTRAC. With your help, we can strengthen the financial system and protect the Australian community.