Woman charged as part of joint-agency investigation into money laundering

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, New South Wales Police Force

A woman has been charged with allegedly directing a money laundering syndicate from offshore.

Strike Force Bugam is a joint investigation between the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) Organised Crime Squad and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) into internationally-based money laundering syndicates operating in Sydney.

Since June 2016, Strike Force investigators have conducted extensive inquiries, resulting in the arrest and charge of four people for various offences.

Following further investigations, a 40-year-old woman was stopped by officers from Australian Border Force at Sydney International Airport, about 10.20am on Thursday (19 January 2017).

She was arrested and taken to Mascot Police Station, where she was charged with knowingly direct activities of a criminal group.

Police will allege the woman coordinated the group’s activities from Vietnam and organised for members in Sydney to receive large amounts of cash, providing direction on how to launder the funds through financial institutions and avoid detection.

The Vietnamese National was refused bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on Friday (20 January 2017), where she was formally refused bail to appear at Liverpool Local Court on Monday 6 February 2017.

Shortly after the arrest, Strike Force investigators executed a search warrant at a home at Bossley Park, and a cafe at Canley Heights.

Officers seized mobile phones, SIM cards, electronic storage devices, and documentation, which will be examined by forensic accountants.

Organised Crime Squad’s Money Laundering Unit Investigations Coordinator, Detective Inspector Stuart Sweeney, said the investigation highlighted the transnational nature of organised syndicates impacting NSW.

“While borders can present some investigative challenges, the ever increasing collaboration of law enforcement across the globe is showing that being outside the jurisdiction will not save you,” Det Insp Sweeney said.

“Investigators and analysts from both agencies are dedicated to mitigating threats that cross our borders and affect our communities.

“We will continue to target the criminal networks who are engaged in and facilitate organised crime activities,” Det Insp Sweeney said.

Australian Crime Intelligence Commission NSW State Manager, Warren Gray, said profit is the primary motivator of organised crime and most crime groups will launder their money to maximise profit.

“Investigations like Strike Force Bugam affirm the effectiveness of ‘following the money’ as a way of unearthing organised criminal activity,” Mr Gray said.

“The collaborative work of law enforcement agencies is highly commendable and this outcome is a great result for the Australian community.”

Investigations under Strike Force Bugam are continuing.