Auckland money laundering: police arrest 10, seize $10m in assets

6:08 pm on 17 March 2021

Police have arrested 10 people in Auckland as part of an investigation into money laundering.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid said 12 warrants were carried out by the Financial Crime Group.

More than $10 million worth of assets including four properties and three vehicles in St Heliers, Kumeu and New Lynn, and $200,000 worth of jewellery, were seized.

Police also restrained 23 bank accounts, as well as cash and cryptocurrency wallets.

The nine men and one woman aged between 32 years old and 70 are due to appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow and on 23 March 2021.

They face a range of charges including money laundering and possession of methamphetamine for supply.

Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid of the Financial Crime Group said in a statement that this is the third operation and the culmination of more than a year's worth of investigative work.

The investigations focused on semi-legitimate businesses that police allege were money laundering, he said.

"Police will allege that those funds being laundered were helping to fund the importation of illegal drugs into New Zealand. The funds were also generated by these individuals and organised crime groups involved in the manufacture and supply of drugs, theft, and fraud-related offending," he said.

Schmid said shutting down "payment channels" is just as important to police as detecting drugs and other illicit items at the border.