The Australian Federal Police has restrained more than $250 million in criminal assets in courts across Australian and overseas in the past financial year.
Residential and commercial properties, rural land, luxury cars and boats, bank accounts, cash, cryptocurrency, high end jewellery and other luxury goods are among the assets restrained by the AFP’s led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT).
Offences linked to the restrained assets include money laundering, drug trafficking, illicit tobacco, identity crime, tax and corporations offences and various types of fraud.
AFP Criminal Assets Confiscation national manager Stefan Jerga said the CACT’s mandate was to deprive offenders of the proceeds and benefits of their crimes, and to punish and deter them from breaching the law.
“The AFP is depriving organised crime of the benefits derived from their offending and this undermines the profitability of criminal enterprises,” Mr Jerga said.
“We come after all their assets. Whether it be the roof over their heads, their modes of transport and recreational toys, monies in their possession or bank accounts, or the watches, bags and shoes they parade, we target it all.
“Targeting the criminal economy by confiscating criminal assets, and removing the profit from crime, is one of a number of strategies deployed by the AFP and its partners to disrupt organised criminal activity and deliver maximum damage to the criminal environment.
“Whether it takes us several years or seventeen years of hard fought litigation, as was a case in a successful 2018 matter before the High Court, the AFP and our partners will not let go until every asset we have restrained has been confiscated.
“We must and we will continue to target serious and organised crime in this way, and our highly skilled and determined team of specialist criminal asset investigators, forensic accountants and litigators are up to this challenge.
“The Commonwealth’s proceeds of crime laws support the AFP and our partners to target all crime types, with no person or criminal group beyond our reach. In this way, our potential to deliver maximum damage to the criminal environment, and to support our communities and social fabric in the process, is limitless.
“In addition to disrupting and damaging the criminal environment, it is satisfying for our committed members to see the proceeds of the criminal assets seized and fought so hard for by them, redistributed back into measures supporting the community and nation they so passionately serve”.
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw has made criminal asset confiscation a priority under his leadership.
The CACT brings together the resources and expertise of the AFP, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Taxation Office, AUSTRAC, and the Australian Border Force. Together, these agencies trace, restrain and ultimately confiscate criminal assets.