17 December 2020

Lawyers, accountant on money laundering charges granted watch house bail

| Michael Weaver
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Investigator and arrested man

Criminal investigators from ACT Policing with one of the men arrested over alleged organised crime. Photo: ACT Policing.

Three people have been granted watch house bail over their alleged involvement in an organised crime syndicate that was the subject of an extensive investigation by ACT Policing.

A 47-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman who work for a prominent Canberra law firm, and a 54-year-old man who works for an accountancy business in Canberra, were arrested yesterday (16 December) following the execution of several search warrants and the seizure of a large volume of documents by a team of criminal investigators.

The 47-year-old and the 54-year-old each face three charges, including dealing with proceeds of crime of $100,000 or more, money laundering and recruiting people to engage in criminal activity.

The 35-year-old woman has been charged dealing with proceeds of crime of $100,000 or more and money laundering.

All three were granted bail at the ACT Watch House and will appear in the ACT Magistrates Court on 21 December.

The search warrants were executed at a law firm in Civic and an accountancy business in Kingston linked to the trio. Further search warrants were executed at a grocery store in Queanbeyan and another business at Farrer.

According to police, the men met on a number of occasions to discuss how legal contracts and agreements could be used to support a business purchase to facilitate the laundering of proceeds of crime.

Leading the investigation, Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said he was unable to disclose specifics of the investigation or make direct links to outlaw motorcycle gangs, but said the investigation was part of their broader strategy to prevent organised crime.

“Some organised crime groups and individuals lack the necessary skills or access to carry out their crimes, and so seek professional facilitators in particular areas like the financial and legal sector.

“ACT Policing will target anyone who engages in illegal activity to help criminals retain and legitimise proceeds of crime.”

Det Supt Moller said police expect to make further arrests in relation to the facilitation of organised crime in Canberra.

Anyone with information that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Quote reference 6695673. Information can be provided anonymously.

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