Eight ACT properties, four high-end vehicles, luxury goods, cash and cryptocurrencies worth more than $10 million have been restrained as part of an international money laundering investigation involving a number of Australian and US agencies.
The Australian Federal Police on Sunday said they executed search warrants at two homes and a storage unit in Canberra on July 28 and seized more than $1.5 million cash allegedly hidden inside one house.
A number of documents and electronic devices were also examined and seized for further forensic investigation.
A 35-year-old man based in the ACT was charged with one count of dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime for an amount of $100,000 or more.
He was granted bail and will face court at a later date.
The AFP will allege the man used sophisticated transactions to launder cash and cryptocurrency from the sale of stolen personal identification information, illegal goods and the proceeds from fraudulent scams and illegal online gambling.
The AFP will also allege the man had accumulated a significant number of assets that were suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
These assets included eight properties, four luxury cars worth more than $800,000, 28 bank accounts and about $600,000 in cryptocurrency.
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AFP Acting Commander Scott Raven said money laundering was a threat to Australia's economy and national security.
"Money laundering is also heavily used to fund further criminal activities that impact our community's safety," Acting Commander Raven said.
"The AFP has a unique ability to disrupt groups suspected of criminal activity where it hurts them the most: seizing their profits and preventing them from using those funds in future ventures."
He said this case "demonstrates that the AFP will be relentless in pursuing those allegedly involved in global money laundering activities to ensure that those suspected of dealing in the proceeds of crime cannot enjoy the benefits of their illicitly obtained wealth".
The restraint was conducted by the AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, which brings together resources and expertise of various national agencies, including the AFP, ATO, and Border Force.
The investigation, Operation Nairana, began in late 2020 when the FBI and the US Internal Revenue Service, as part of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, reported an Australian-based person was allegedly using cryptocurrency to launder money.
AUSTRAC provided support to the initial stages of this investigation, identifying relevant financial data.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission also supported this investigation.
FBI Legal Attaché Nitiana Mann said the FBI prioritises domestic and international partnerships to combat money laundering worldwide.
"It is because of our collaboration with law enforcement and intelligence partners that outcomes like this continue to exemplify our commitment to protect the integrity of our financial systems," she said.
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