4 Nov 2020

Police make arrests, seize property and luxury cars in money laundering probe

6:09 pm on 4 November 2020

Police have arrested nine people in a raid today targeting money laundering in Auckland.

More than $100,000 cash was located at one address searched by police.

More than $100,000 cash was located at one address searched by police. Photo: NZ Police

Officers targeted a company operating as a foreign exchange and money transfer service.

Police seized assets worth more than $6 million, including eight properties and seven luxury cars. The properties are in central Auckland, Albany and Glenfield, while the cars include a Bentley, two Porsches, two Range Rovers, a Mercedes-Benz and a BMW.

An eighth car, a Rolls Royce Wraith worth more than $250,000, that was sought by police was also found later, in a car yard in central Auckland.

A Rolls Royce Wraith that was sought by police in connection with money laundering seizures.

The Rolls Royce Wraith was not initially found in the raids, but was later discovered at an Auckland car yard. Photo: Supplied/ NZ Police

Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman said the business had at first appeared to be lawful.

"However over the last few months we've observed significant quantities of cash being delivered to this business with no apparent legitimate source."

"The investigation team will now work to reconstruct the activities of the business to determine the source of these funds and our enquiries are ongoing in this area," Chapman said in a statement.

Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman

Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman Photo: RNZ

Police raided 23 properties across the city this morning following an investigation code-named Martinez by the Financial Crime Group.

"Money laundering is not a victimless crime," Chapman said.

He said money launderers enabled organised criminal groups to operate, which threatened the safety of our communities.

Eight men and a woman are facing money laundering and related charges and are expected to appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow, with one of them also facing charges relating to methamphetamine supply.

Police said the majority of those arrested are Chinese nationals and one Australian was also arrested today.

One person is also facing charges relating to the supply of methamphetamine after a quantity of the drug was found at one of the addresses.

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