Joint Media Release
The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Home Affairs
Minister for Justice
Minister for Defence Materiel
$40 million in assets seized including Rolls Royces, yachts, a Lamborghini and an Aston Martin
The Federal Government today congratulated the Australian Federal Police on the seizure of around $40 million in assets believed to be the proceeds of crime generated through an elaborate tax evasion and money laundering scheme.
The Commonwealth Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce today executed six warrants in NSW and Queensland and charged a 67 year-old man with conspiring to dishonestly cause a loss to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and conspiring to deal in the proceeds of crime to the value of $63 million.
Real estate and luxury items, including Rolls Royces, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, a Mercedes, a BMW and yachts have been restrained.
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare said today’s seizure was the result of a seven month joint operation – Operation Beaufighter – between the Australian Federal Police and the ATO.
"Organised crime is driven by money. Take away their money and assets and it reduces the incentive to commit crimes," Mr Clare said.
"The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce was set up in January last year to target the profits criminals make.
"Just like with Al Capone – you can catch criminals by following the money."
This is the first time the Australian Federal Police has conducted litigation to restrain assets on behalf of the Taskforce since the legislation came into effect in January this year giving the AFP powers to commence and conduct proceeds of crime litigation.
Mr Bradbury said the Operation was undertaken as part of Project Wickenby.
"Project Wickenby is successfully cracking down on the use of tax havens by those trying to cheat the system," said Mr Bradbury
"The establishment of the Taskforce has contributed significantly to the identification and restraint of proceeds of crime with approximately $70 million in assets restrained as a result of Taskforce investigations so far this financial year.
"This operation is the result of agencies working together to make Australia a hostile place for money laundering and large-scale tax avoidance and evasion."
Project Wickenby brings together resources from the ATO, AFP, ACC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Government Solicitor and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and AUSTRAC with an ongoing commitment by these partners to make Australia unattractive for large scale tax evasion and avoidance and money laundering.Enquiries are ongoing and further arrests and operational activity have not been ruled out.