$5 million in assets seized in major money laundering investigation

$5 million in assets seized in major money laundering investigation

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Police have arrested six involved in a major money-laundering operation across Auckland today.

Properties and vehicles totalling at around $5 million were seized following an ongoing investigation by Police.

Officers from the Financial Crime Group carried out search warrants at six addresses across Auckland this morning.

The arrests today are the culmination of a long-running investigation called Operation Brookings.

The Operation Brookings investigation launched at the beginning of 2020 into two individuals primarily involved in money laundering offences.

The PARU (Police Asset Recovery Unit) restrained three properties, in Half Moon Bay, Te Atatu and New Lynn. The worth of these properties is around $3.3 million in value.

Seven luxury vehicles, a boat and three motorbikes were seized. The worth of these vehicles and motorbikes is around $1.2 million.

Of the vehicles, Police seized three new Mercedes-Benz models, including a G-Wagon worth around $280,000 and a Lamborghini Huracan which is worth around $450,000.

Police also found $250,000 during the search warrants.

Of those arrested, four are men, and two are women — the age range is from 29 to 65 years old. They have all been charged with money laundering offences.

A 40-year-old man will be at the Auckland District Court tomorrow, and the remaining individuals will appear in the Auckland District Court on October 20.

“Police enquiries are ongoing, and we are unable to rule out the possibility of further people being charged,” said New Zealand Police.

Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman, National Manager of the Financial Crime Group, says today’s arrests and restrained assets are the results of hard work and dedication by Police into money laundering offending.

“These alleged offenders profited from laundering funds overseas that were believed to be generated from criminal offending and were illegally gained. These individuals are motivated by financial greed and have no concern for the criminal offending that has generated the funds they are profiting from.”

“These arrests serve as a warning to anyone involved in money laundering activity. The Financial Crime Group is targeting money laundering offenders, and those found to be engaging in this offending will be prosecuted.”

“Police will also restrain any assets obtained through criminal offending, and these will be forfeited to the Crown under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.”

“These offenders typically drive luxury vehicles which they use as status symbols, and Police will continue to work tirelessly to restrain any assets derived from the proceeds of illegitimate activity,” says Detective Superintendent Chapman.

Money Laundering carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

Image credit: New Zealand Police

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