Man extradited to Perth for allegedly laundering almost $8 million

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and WA Police Force.

A 25-year-old Sydney resident accused of helping to launder more than $7.74 million of suspected proceeds of crime is due to face Perth Magistrates Court today (Thursday, 28 November).

The man, who was arrested at Sydney International Airport on Tuesday and prevented from leaving the country, is the second person charged as part of Operation Gratwick.

Operation Gratwick is a WA Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (WA JOCTF) investigation into the activities of a money laundering syndicate operating in New South Wales and Western Australia.

Police will allege members of the syndicate exploited business express deposit facilities in WA banks, by depositing large amounts of cash into a number of company accounts specifically created for laundering purposes.

The 25-year-old man and an alleged accomplice are accused of travelling from Sydney to Perth between 29 January and 26 April (2019), where they deposited a total of $7,741,310 into the company accounts.

The funds were allegedly then transferred through other accounts before being remitted offshore.

The 25-year-old's alleged accomplice was arrested and charged in July.

Police allege the accounts were controlled by a third man, who was charged as part of a separate money laundering operation conducted by NSW Police.

A Commonwealth arrest warrant was issued by the Perth Magistrates Court on 30 August (2019) for the 25-year-old Sydney man.

After the man's arrest at the airport, WA JOCTF investigators successfully sought his extradition to WA during an appearance in a Sydney court yesterday (Wednesday).

He has been charged with:

  • one count of dealing with money reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime greater than $100,000, contrary to section 400.9(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • one count of committing an offence at the direction of a criminal organisation, contrary to section 390.5(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences are three and seven years imprisonment respectively.

The WA JOCTF is a multi-agency taskforce comprising AFP, WA Police Force, Australian Border Force, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Department of Home Affairs.

AFP Detective Superintendent Timothy Underhill said police remain committed to disrupting and dismantling transnational money laundering organisations and demonstrating that Australia is a hostile environment for criminals seeking to hide or realise their illegally-obtained assets.

"Money laundering is a key enabler of organised crime and the AFP and our partners are committed to disrupting the flow of proceeds of criminal activity, be it on or off-shore, by prosecuting people responsible for assisting organised crime groups to profit from their criminal activity and where possible, seizing the cash," Det. Supt Underhill said.

Editor's note:

Video of the 25-year-old charged, courtesy of the Australian Federal Police, is available.

Media enquiries:

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297
WA Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011

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