Media Release: Multi-agency investigation targets money laundering syndicate

Release Date: Thursday, February 10 2011, 12:42 PM

This is a joint media release with the Australian Crime Commission.

Two women are scheduled to appear in Sydney Central Court today for their alleged involvement in a money laundering syndicate operating in the south-western suburbs of Sydney.

In May 2010 the Australian Federal Police (AFP) received a referral from the Financial Intelligence Assessment Team (FIAT), part of the National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre in the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), which had identified a syndicate allegedly facilitating avoidance of taxation obligations for a large number of clothing manufacturing businesses.
 
The National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre is a national multi-agency initiative, involving the AFP, ACC, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Centrelink, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

AFP members subsequently investigated the syndicate and yesterday executed eight search warrants on residential and business premises in western Sydney. 

During this phase of the operation, AFP seized over $800,000 in cash and restrained more than $200,000 in bank accounts allegedly associated with the scheme.

A 47-year-old Croydon Park woman and a 59-year-old Green Valley woman were charged with dealing in proceeds of crime worth $1,000,000 or more, contrary to Section 400.3 Criminal Code Act 1995

It will be alleged in court that the women facilitated a scheme which allowed a number of businesses to siphon legitimate company funds through a series of ‘shell companies’. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment.

National Manager Crime Operations Ramzi Jabbour said the investigation had only been able to progress as a result of the cooperation between all agencies involved.

“The outcomes achieved from this operation highlight the value in agencies working together to combat transnational crime and would not be achieved without the involvement of the National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre” he said.

ACC National Manager Dr Dave Lacey said the investment made in creating Australia’s National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre is starting to result in tangible benefits for the community.

“The fusing of information and intelligence on organised crime from across the Commonwealth is a force multiplier and a key pillar of the Organised Crime Response Framework,” he said. 

Media enquiries:
AFP Media (02) 6131 6333
ACC Media (02) 6243 6843