23 Jul 2010

Taskforce charges pair over money laundering

8:14 am on 23 July 2010

A taskforce targeting Asian organized crime has charged two men with a money laundering operation, linked to a drug ring.

It is the latest development in an investigation involving the Organised and Financial Crime Agency and police.

A financial exchange business was raided in downtown Auckland on Thuirsday morning. Large amounts of cash were seized and the operating accounts of the business were frozen.

Two company executives have been charged with money laundering $1.9 million during the past year.

The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act has been used to hold about $2.8 million in assets, including, property and vehicles.

The taskforce has been operation for a year and has charged 16 people with drug dealing offences.

It has also netted methamphetamine worth $5.5 million, more than $400,000 in cash and 21 illegal firearms.

The managing director of drug education group Methcon, Mike Sabin, says with millions of dollars changing hands in the methampetamine trade, money laundering is big business.

He says many Asian crime groups are finding sophisticated ways to protect their assets.

Canterbury University researcher of gangs Jarrod Gilbert says patched gangs do not have the same expertise in laundering money.