Money launderers’ Bentley, Range Rovers, Porches seized, dealt in $120m transactions

Police have seized around $6 million in assets from a crime syndicate, including a Bentley, two Porsches, two Range Rovers, houses, and apartments.

It’s thought the group dealt in transactions worth in excess of $120 million.

Twenty-three search warrants were carried out in Auckland this morning following a Financial Crime Group investigation into money laundering and related offending.

Seven people were arrested; six Chinese nationals and an Australian with no known 501-deportee gang links. Those arrested are six men and one woman aged between 29 and 48 years.

Eight properties in total have been seized in central Auckland, Albany, and Glenfield.

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

The long-running operation, named Operation Martinez, involved an Auckland-based financial company, which operated as a foreign exchange and money transfer business.

It’s alleged those involved have laundered millions of dollars through the company, which has been running since 2017.

Police say those involved knew it had been gained through criminal offending such as drug dealing, fraud, theft, and burglary.

“The sums of money involved are staggering,” Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman, National Manager, Police Financial Crime Group says.

“Our investigation has discovered that this group of individuals have dealt with transactions in excess of $120 million.

“While it’s possible some of these funds are legitimate, as a result of months of investigation Police suspect a significant amount of these funds dealt with were illegally gained through criminal offending.

“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.”

The group is expected to appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow.

The luxury vehicles include a $450,000 Lamborghini Huracan and three new 2020 Mercedes-Benz models, including a $280,000 G-wagon, police said.

Three properties in Half Moon Bay, Te Atatū and New Lynn – worth at least $3.3m – were restrained and about $250,000 in cash was also seized.

The arrests are the result of Operation Brookings, a long-running investigation by the Financial Crime Group into money laundering activity.

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