Sydney man and woman charged with money laundering

A Sydney man, 41, and woman, 35, charged with laundering more than $22 million dollars in cash through gold purchases are scheduled to face Parramatta Local Court today (6 July 2022).

Investigators launched Operation Avarus-Effectus in January 2022 after the AFP identified anomalous cash deposits allegedly being made by the man and woman into the bank accounts of companies registered as precious metal dealers.

The man is a registered precious metals dealer and director of a gold trading company. Police allege that he failed to adhere to stringent reporting obligations on all gold sales by providing clients with anonymity when making significant cash purchases.

Investigators allege that since November 2020 the pair have collectively deposited more than $22 million in cash into the accounts and also used funds from the accounts to purchase gold.

In February 2022, AFP officers executed a series of search warrants, including at the Lakemba home shared by the man and woman, and at a Burwood bank. Officers seized about $86,000 cash and $148,000 worth of gold bullion of various sizes as well as business documents and cash deposit receipts.

AFP Acting Inspector Robert Higgins said gold dealers were bound by the stringent reporting obligations because it was considered a high risk for money laundering activity.

“Money laundering involves concealing the source of illicit funds and those who control it. Gold bullion is one of many methods used to convert proceeds of crime into legitimate appearing assets and funds.” A/Inspector Higgins said.

“These charges are another reminder that the AFP and our partners will not allow criminals to profit at the expense of the Australian community.”

The man was charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime, greater than $10 million contrary to section 400.9(1AA) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is five years’ imprisonment.

The woman was charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, greater than $1 million contrary to section 400.9(1AB) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is four years’ imprisonment.

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