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ACC Taskforce Gordian: money laundering & drug trafficking arrests.



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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS ELLISON MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CUSTOMS MANAGER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IN THE SENATE SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone: (02) 6277 7260 Facsimile: (02) 6273 7098

E98/06 7/10/2006

ACC Taskforce Gordian: Money Laundering & Drug Trafficking Arrests

The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, has welcomed nine arrests made yesterday by the Australian Crime Commission’s (ACC) Taskforce Gordian - which has disrupted a criminal syndicate allegedly involved in money laundering and drug trafficking.

Taskforce Gordian sees the ACC working in partnership with the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, New South Wales Police, New South Wales Crime Commission, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Customs Service and AUSTRAC.

It is alleged that between December 2005 and October 2006, the criminal syndicate used financial facilitators based in Sydney and Melbourne to launder $93 million overseas - which were the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Senator Ellison said that the ACC had executed a total of 20 search warrants, nine in Sydney and 11 in Melbourne, resulting in the arrest of three men and three women in Sydney and two men and one woman.

The searches also yielded approximately $750,000 in cash, further quantities of drugs and some firearms.

It is anticipated that a number of those arrested will be charged with money laundering and serious drug offences and if convicted they could face a maximum 25 years in jail.

Senator Ellison welcomed the arrests and said that the operational outcomes achieved by Taskforce Gordian are a great example of the close working partnerships occurring between federal and state law enforcement agencies.

“Serious and organised crime does not recognise state, national or even international boundaries. Yesterday’s Taskforce Gordian arrests represent the unique law enforcement partnerships occurring between the ACC and the jurisdictions - which has enabled a national approach to disrupting serious and organised crime,” Senator Ellison said.

“These outcomes reinforce the Howard Government's ongoing commitment to reducing money laundering and sends a clear message - that those who launder the proceeds of crime will always be pursued - and they will pay,” Senator Ellison said.

For further information about the ACC and its body of work known as its Determinations, visit: http://www.crimecommission.gov.au

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (02) 6277 7260 0406 052 038