By David Barber
Wellington (dpa) – New Zealand police investigating Asian
organized crime raided a money exchange company in Auckland Thursday,
claiming it was a multi-million dollar operation to launder illegal
Two people were arrested and police seized their assets, including
a house valued at 2 million New Zealand dollars (1.4 million US
dollars) and two vehicles, the firm’s bank accounts, three firearms
and 40,000 New Zealand dollars cash.
A police statement linked the raid with the seizure of
methamphetamine, worth 5 million New Zealand dollars, and the arrest
of six other men last week.
“Police believe the financial firm has assisted the drug ring to
launder money by transferring large amounts of drug money through
various accounts, and moving it internationally to disguise its
origin,” detective inspector Steve Wood, of the Organized and
Financial Crime Agency, said.
He said the Auckland-based criminals were linked to other criminal
networks in China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Wood said the raid was part of Taskforce Acacia, a year-long
investigation targeting Asian organized crime in New Zealand, which
had seen more than 6 million New Zealand dollars worth of
methamphetamine and the precursor drug ContacNT seized, along with 21
guns and 400,000 New Zealand dollars.
Sixteen people have been charged with drug-dealing offences.
The pair arrested Thursday, a 26-year-old company director and a
finance manager, 27, were jointly charged with laundering 1.9 million
New Zealand dollars over the past year.