Thursday, 23 January 2014

Terrorists and Money Laundering Too Close To Home

Excerpt from The Age

Australian Crime Commission (ACC) recently tracked a Mexican man working for a South American syndicate travelling to a property at Diggers Rest in rural Victoria. There, Vietnamese drug distributors were to give the Mexican a large amount of cash to be laundered offshore. Fortunately that operation was intercepted before it went any further.

But the scale of money laundering is enormous and terrorist groups are profiting as hundreds of millions of dollars Australians spend on illegal drugs. The revelations come as Australia's biggest money-laundering probe, Project Eligo, has identified hundreds of unwitting Australian residents being duped into helping launder the drug money overseas, including funds generated by outlaw motorcycle groups and people-smuggling operations.

The money-laundering investigation has uncovered 40 separate money-laundering operations across Australia that are involved in moving hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money offshore.
The operation has so far seized $26 million in dirty cash, restrained $30 million of houses and other assets funded by drug money and intercepted drug shipments totalling more than $530 million dollars.

It's understood that dozens of ''exchange houses'' or money-laundering centres in the Middle East and Asia are then used to wash and distribute the money to overseas crime bosses.

It is believed at least one of the exchange houses used in the Australian operation delivers a cut from every dollar it launders to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a terrorist organisation.

Read more at The Age

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