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Police have arrested six people and seized about $9 millions in assets, including three Remuera properties, luxury vehicles and large amounts of cash as part of a money laundering investigation

Police have arrested six people and seized about $9 millions in assets, including three Remuera properties, luxury vehicles and large amounts of cash as part of a money laundering investigation
Police seized $250,000 at one address as part of Operation Menelaus.

Police have arrested six people and seized millions in assets following a significant money laundering investigation in Auckland.

On Wednesday, Police executed search warrants at addresses in Remuera, East Tamaki Heights, Papatoetoe and Karaka as Police continues to focus on targeting those laundering money from the proceeds of crime.

Six people have been arrested as part of Operation Menelaus which has been underway since the beginning of the year.

As part of the operation, Police have put restraint on three Remuera properties worth more than $7.3 million in total.

At these locations, Police located a total of $250,000 in cash and have frozen a further total of $727,000 in numerous bank accounts.

Police have also seized a number of luxury European vehicles including a $280,000 Bentley Bentayga, a $120,000 Mercedes GLS, a Porsche Cayenne and a Mercedes C Class.

All six are expected to appear in the Auckland District Court later today on a range of charges, including the following:

A 38-year-old male faces 22 charges, including 20 counts of money laundering.

A 41-year-old female faces nine charges of money laundering.

A 65-year-old female faces six charges of money laundering and a charge of structuring under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

A 35-year-old male faces three charges of money laundering, two charges relating to attempting to import a Class A and Class B drug and three firearms charges relating to unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

A 36-year-old male faces one charge of money laundering.

A 33-year-old female faces one charge of money laundering.

Enquiries are still ongoing and Police cannot rule out further arrests as part of this investigation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne Gray, of the Financial Crime Group, says these arrests should serve as a warning to those that may be involved in these kinds of money laundering operations that Police will hold them to account.

“Today we have seized around $9 million worth of assets out of the hands of those allegedly engaging in criminal activity.

“Police are well aware there are individuals and organisations that are enabling this kind of activity and are more than willing to profit off of the proceeds of crime. Let this be a warning that they are likely to come to Police attention.

“Money being laundered in this case is alleged to have come from various sources, including drug dealing. It is well known about the wide ranging harm these sorts of drugs have on our communities.”

Gray says Police will target those who use third parties to assist in disguising funds and assets from law enforcement.

“Police will continue to use the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act to remove the proceeds of crime from these groups as part of our target to seize $500 million in cash and assets by 2021.”

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52 Comments

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DGZ?

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. . hmmm ... yes .. as much as we can admire the police for their diligence in this case , prior to the GFC we had a complete meltdown in the alternative finance sector.... $ billions of investors money was lost .... largely that of retirees . .

And yet I'm only aware of one guy being gaoled ... Rod Petreivic of Bridgecorp ... hmmmmm .... $ 460 million lost just in that one , of 30 finance company's which failed . ..

.. and he paid his way out of goal , and into luxury home detention ..... yaasssssssss ....

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A Chinese acquaintance- a good, very ethical guy - told me recently that this nonsense is surprisingly common. Hopefully more will be caught, and it acts as some kind of deterrent too.

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You're not really allowed to say they're Chinese.

That would be racist apparently. Even if they are in fact, Chinese.

In the words of Patrice Oneal

I'm not saying Chinese people... I'm just saying all the countries that Chinese people come from...

A few nights ago a piece on 7sharp about dwindling cash reserves in the country's vaults. They never pointed to the underworld as the likely source of the dearth, but I am sure anyone else watching it, thought, like me, that the sorts of organisations as in this article are the likely cause.
PS I think meth is being as a weapon against the people of quite a few countries, including this one. Conspiracy theory? Yes, but plausible

Region with highest use of P...northland. what an absolute waste of the talent of people living there.

Sadly, I have drawn the same conclusion. Meth was originally created in Germany under the name Pervitin and Hitler was dependant on his doctor giving him daily doses of it. We only thought we won WWII. But today, that same drug is killing so many people that I have also wondered if it is by design.

Dont use it and you cant be addicted or affected by it. Victim mentality!

The problem is that some drugs can have an inordinate effect from an individual's single mistake. Another problem is that people in cyclical poverty seem to be particularly prone to making that initial mistake.

Oh if only life worked that way

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Yep doesn't surprise me. I bet that most of Remuera and related expensive areas is owned by Money Launders, how else do think that Auckland's property prices got pushed up so rapidly. Almost doubling in value in the more expensive suburbs in less than five years when there's no business framework to justify that rapid increase.

I suspected my old neighbour. Owned a big Remuera house, although not a flash car... seemed to just mope around the house all day.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens to the top end of Auckland's property market later this year, those multi million dollar homes don't appear to be selling that well since the AML rules kicked in at the start of the year.

So if he had a flash car he would have fitted in?

Only a suspicion, but I always felt having an average second hand car was part of his 'front'.
I might be being totally unfair. Maybe he just pumped all his money into the house and didn't care much for cars.

stretching it a bit CJ099. A lot of forces at play.

Do you know that CJ is a baker. By baking up a plausible story he can to make a lot of dough picking up a neglected house or two and then watch their values rise.

He’s looking for his own slice of paradise, where his family can flourish. As a baker, I highly doubt he is rolling in it which isn’t ideal if he’s the breadwinner. Only once he gets himself a couple of properties will he start creaming it.

Ha ha I sold at the peak of the market so quite happy actually. Admittedly, it did take a while to figure out how such a low wage economy managed to have such big percentage of multi million dollar homes. But then I realized that it was down to lots and lots of money laundering and therefore a false economy. Thought it best to sell up an get out for the most part, before it all went pear shaped (To put it politely). :)

Absolutely right on the money, CJ is a snake looking to where he can make more money by picking the bottom of the market. Even worse taking advantage of someone who did not manage to time the market so cleverly as himself

That is what investors do... buy low and sell high. I kinda wonder whatever happened to BuyLowSellHigh, he seems to have disappeared. I suspect that he didn't heed his moniker.

The bottom line is that if you bought without regard to market forces and cycle timing so as to "get on the property ladder", you may be at high risk of losing your pricipal. So many people do not understand that leveraged instruments can magnify losses just as they can magnify gains. Property investment is not a low risk investment, especially when it is late in the property cycle.

For those that bought for the purpose of owning and living in a home longterm, the various up and down price movements are inconsequential, as they are owning for the long term and not buying/selling so the gians/losses are not realized.

Maybe the difference might be, developers and investors are open about what they do, the left attack them for it. The left then try and go about deviously while maintaining their saint status.

Nah you just lack basic business sense HW. Yankiwi has kindly pointed out to you; That a good property investor knows to "buy low and sell high" and to watch the market and recognize risk as we did. If the market has been distorted by outside market forces such as money laundering then it's best to sell up before a Government that is acting responsibly has to take action to re-balance the distorted market and stop illegal activity. There you go it's that simple, just good business sense. :)

HW,

I struggle with your comment. "Maybe the difference might be, developers and investors are open about what they do, the left attack them for it." For some reason, I didn't picture that you were on the left side of the political persuasion. I am referencing your attack on CJ...

Really is that the best you could come up with Hw?? A baker how pathetic you are!! Obviously your sore because the Anti Money Laundering regulations have really taken a chunk out of your property values, either that or you are Real Estate Agent, Which is why you keep trying to troll me.
Anyway here's some cold hard facts for you! Did you know; Each year about $1.35 billion from the proceeds of fraud and illegal drugs is laundered through everyday New Zealand businesses. (That buys a lot of houses in central Auckland). And from 1 January 2019, you had to comply with the AML/CFT Act when you represent someone who’s either selling or buying real estate. https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/aml-cft/

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Overall the government has been a bit disappointing. But they have done a few really good things, like the FBB and the AML Act.
We just don't need this filth here.

Yes totally agree. :) How A Little Money Laundering Can Have A Big Impact On Real Estate Prices - Better Dwelling article.
https://betterdwelling.com/how-a-little-money-laundering-can-have-a-big-...

Don't you mean you're? It is short for you are. Your is a different word altogether. Example: YOU'RE completely wrong in YOUR assumptions.

What assumptions are those, that you're not a TROLL or that you are a Real Estate Agent or are you both? Or is it that you just don't like AML rules?
Please clarify because you appear to be rambling? :)

@kane02: REA; From 1 January 2019, you’ll have to comply with the AML/CFT Act when you represent someone who’s either selling or buying real estate. NZ Justice: https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/aml-cft/
So your saying that this has nothing to do with Auckland's higher end property prices crumbling. Perhaps the Government should be even stricter with corrupt REAs then.

One wonders why John Key dragged his feet so much on anti-money laundering legislation. Did he sell his place before it all came in and impacted the local market?

The banks via loose lending and debt or credit creation has pushed up asset prices, not the money launderers, although they have helped to sustain the prices by paying ridiculous amounts of money to launder their cash. Now there is a slight credit retraction, you see asset prices starting to drop somewhat, in line with the change in banks lending policies.

Here's an interesting article for you by Better Dwelling: How A Little Money Laundering Can Have A Big Impact On Real Estate Prices
https://betterdwelling.com/how-a-little-money-laundering-can-have-a-big-...

Proxy owners for high value properties, fronting for mysterious overseas owners who channel money through people living here. The standard game. Even business ownership is disguised in this manner. All par for the course, when the country's laws and enforcement are weak. Hot money and Black money, any one ?

maybe my old neighbour was one of those 'proxy owners'.

We really get taken for a ride, don't we.

They were also ordered to surrender their passports, while their bail conditions included being prevented from going to an ANZ branch or any other financial institution to deposit cash or cheques.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12262884

Tomorrow I'm getting rid of my 2018 Lamborghini and 2019 Maserati

Good idea, sell them before the market is flooded with confiscated models at the police auctions.

I recall a certain PM not being at all keen on implementing this legislation. It will be interesting to see who else gets rounded up as time goes by. The construction and real estate sector is looking vulnerable. I used to work for a company in Tauranga that took payment for houses in cash from the same non engrish speaking buyers...two or three properties at a time.

4th estate. I get the point about non engrish folks paying in dodgy cash. Sounds to me also like your boss was dodgy too, pocketing the dodgy cash as dodgy tradies have done. If people offer me cash price for services I refuse. Most companies offer good enough discounts through loyalty programs and associations without having to resort to that sh#t.

Well he did tell me that they refused to pay into the bank account when he did ask. Last time I saw him before I quit he had a boxfull of cash the size of the type you get photocopier paper delivered in sitting on his desk from the latest order. I think half of Tauranga and Papamoa houses have been built that way.

Prezzy Cards are a good one too.

Also, apparently overpaying council rates by thousands is (or if not now, at least was) a common gambit. Pay in cash, then get a refund.

If you're really concerned I think you would let IRD know. You dont have to deal with him regularly so he cant touch you.

I'm curious, could these people be deported?

Should be. We better learn from the Aussies, aye.

ABC News: Real Estate: dirty money laundered through Australian housing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A_lH4S3ufA

If they're not citizens, they should be. They are not contributing positively to New Zealand.

Well done Plod. Lots of storys of suit cases of cash arriving from both China and India. The later tried to outlaw folding cash a while back becasue non tax transactions was approx a third of turnover. When they withdrew folding money a lot of it was relocated overseas into property to stop fingering oneself as a tax avoider buy attempting to put it in the bank.

More to come im sure. We should terminate residency/citizenship and deport as well. But we wont. Fortunatly there are plenty of good immigrants that just work hard and pay their tax.

Days to the General Election: 27
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.