During COVID-19, AFP members were still coming into work, and while most of Sydney was a ghost town, alarm bells went off among our money laundering investigators when they noticed Changjiang Currency Exchange opened and updated new and existing shopfronts in the heart of Sydney
Money laundering funds and supports serious and organised crime.
It's a process of moving money or property through the economy in a way that hides its illegal origins or intended criminal purpose.
Money laundering is a crime under state, territory and Commonwealth laws.
Money laundering facilitators
Facilitators involved in money laundering include:
- money laundering organisations (MLOs), who specialise in moving money and property for criminal clients in return for a fee
- professional enablers, who have skills to help others launder money
- self-laundering organised crime groups, who launder money or property without the help of an MLO. These groups are good at laundering within Australia, but usually need the help of MLOs to move money and property internationally
- criminal clients, who are MLO customers. They depend on money laundering to hide wealth they obtain from committing crimes.
Operation Avarus is our anti-money laundering strategy, which guides the work of our investigation and intelligence teams. It outlines options to combat money laundering and disrupt the movement of illicit money and property.
Taskforce Avarus is the investigative arm of our anti-money laundering strategy. We work with other government agencies and partners to combat money laundering activities in Australia, including:
- AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre)
- Australian Border Force
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
Operation Avarus-Nightwolf is a longstanding investigation into a prominent, multi-billion-dollar Australian-based money remittance service – the Changjiang Currency Exchange. It is alleged the Changjiang Currency Exchange is being secretly run by a Chinese organised crime group known as the Long River money laundering organisation.
The AFP will allege the Changjiang Currency Exchange laundered almost $229 million in the past three years alone – including funds stolen from victims of cybercrime. During yesterday’s activities the AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, restrained almost $60 million, including more than $7 million in bank accounts. More restraints are expected.
This 14-month investigation was supported by AUSTRAC, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Taxation Office and the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations.
Visit the News Centre for the most recent news on this operation.
Reporting money laundering
If you suspect someone is laundering large sums of money or very expensive property or that their money laundering is helping with another kind of crime that we investigate, such as drug importation, report it to us by filling out our