Australia

Sydney couple allegedly laundered $22 million in cash through gold sales

A Sydney man and woman have been charged with laundering a staggering $22 million in cash through gold purchases over 16 months.

The 41-year-old man is a registered precious metals dealer and director of a gold trading company.

He had allegedly been allowing his clients anonymity with sales, violating the stringent reporting obligations required of selling gold in Australia, according to police.

Gold bullion seized from the pair. (AFP)

He and the 35-year-old woman have allegedly deposited more than $22 million in cash into accounts and also used funds from the accounts to purchase gold since November 2020.

Police began investigating the pair in January after discovering unusual cash deposits allegedly made into bank accounts of companies registered as precious metal dealers.

Officers raided their Lakemba home in February, and carried out a search warrant at a Burwood bank, seizing about $86,000 cash, $148,000 worth of gold bullion, business documents and cash deposit receipts.

Australian Federal Police Acting Inspector Robert Higgins said gold dealers were bound by the stringent reporting obligations because gold dealing presented a high risk for money laundering activity.

“Money laundering involves concealing the source of illicit funds and those who control it,” he said.

“Gold bullion is one of many methods used to convert proceeds of crime into legitimate appearing assets and funds.”

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The man was charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime, greater than $10 million, for which the maximum penalty is five years’ imprisonment.

The woman was charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, greater than $1 million, for which the maximum penalty is four years’ imprisonment.

The pair are set to face Parramatta Local Court today.

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