Seven people have faced court over what Australian Federal Police have described as a $228 million money laundering ring.
Officers arrested the group during raids across the country as part of what has been called the most complex AFP-led money laundering investigation in Australian history.
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In Adelaide, officers spent five hours inside Changjiang Currency Exchange on Gouger St in Chinatown, one of 20 locations raided across the country.
The AFP alleges the money exchange, which has 12 shopfronts across every Australian state, “transferred unlawfully obtained funds to national and international accounts by claiming it was the legitimate business profits and business expenses of their customers”.
“The AFP alleges that the Changjiang Currency Exchange, that is one of the most prominent independent money exchanges in the country, is a front for a money laundering syndicate that transfers dirty money for large criminal enterprises,” AFP assistant commissioner Stephen Dametto said.
Changjiang Currency Exchange on Gouger St in Adelaide CBD is being investigated for potential links to a money laundering ring. Credit: 7NEWS
Officers began investigating the business when it opened new and updated existing shopfronts in Sydney during COVID-19 lockdowns.
The AFP alleges the syndicate coached its criminal customers on how to create fake business paperwork, such as false invoices and bank statements, enabling them to show authorities the money transfers to the company were from legitimate businesses.
“The Changjiang Currency Exchange has modern-looking shopfronts and supplied resources to customers about Australia’s anti-money laundering laws, which the AFP will allege was the company’s attempt to look and act like a law-abiding remittance company,” an AFP spokesperson said.
AFP officers spent five hours inside Changjiang Currency Exchange while investigating allegations of money laundering. Credit: Supplied
Jing Zhu, 35, Ye Qu, 35, Ding Wang, 40, Jin Wang, 33, Jie Lu, 28 and Fei Duan, 37, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, while Zuo Chen, 37, faced the same court the previous evening.
Court documents say Qu, Duan, Chen, Wang and Wang are alleged to have conspired to conceal or disguise money or property believed to be proceeds of crime worth more than $10 million between March 1, 2021 and October 24, 2023.
It’s alleged all seven co-accused conspired to deal with proceeds of crime worth more than $10 million between March 13 and October 24 this year.
AFP officers arrested seven people accused of money laundering in raids across the nation. Credit: AAP
During the recent raids, AFP officers allegedly confiscated more than $50 million worth of property and luxury goods.
Police have been given until January 17 next year to prepare the brief of evidence against the group, before all seven are scheduled to return to court for a committal mention on March 13.
None of the group applied for bail but barristers for at least four indicated possible applications early next month.
Changjiang Currency Exchange is now subject to regulatory action by AUSTRAC.
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