Australia: Car wash owner jailed for money laundering

A Perth car wash owner has been jailed for 20 months after being caught funnelling more than $5.6 million through bank accounts on behalf of a major money-laundering syndicate.

The man pleaded guilty to three counts of dealing with money reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime greater than $100,000 and one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring another person to deal with money reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime greater than $100,000.

The 37-year-old was caught by Australian Federal Police using the express cash deposit facilities inside Perth bank branches over a period of six weeks. The police said he deposited more than $4.1 million himself and allegedly organised for one of his employees to deposit $1.5 million.

The funds were deposited into bank accounts opened in the names of shell companies controlled by an NSW-based money-laundering syndicate. The deposits were made in 2019 between January 29 and March 12, leading the offender to deposit about $100,000 a day.

Police say the car wash was used as a location to deliver the dirty cash while the man also flew from Sydney to Perth on four occasions to receive and deposit more money. Police believe the syndicate is responsible for laundering more than $100 million.

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