Police seize $9m in assets, 6 arrested in ongoing money-laundering operation in Auckland

Police have arrested six people and seized millions in assets following a critical money-laundering investigation in Auckland.

The ongoing investigation, Operation Menelaus, is targeting those laundering money generated from crime revenue. 

On Wednesday, police executed search warrants at properties in East Tamaki Heights, Karaka, Papatoetoe and Remuera.

Police have put a restraint on three Remuera properties as part of the investigation, with a combined total of more than $7.3 million.

Cash amounting to $250,000 was discovered at these locations. Police have frozen a further $727,000 located in a number of bank accounts.

Luxury European vehicles including a $280,000 Bentley Bentayga have also been seized.

The six people, aged between 33 and 65, are expected to appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday on a range of charges. A 38-year-old male is facing a total of 22 charges, including 20 counts of money laundering. 

A 35-year-old male is facing two charges related to the attempted import of a Class A and Class B drug, three firearms charges related to unlawful possession of ammunition and firearms and three charges of money laundering.

"[On Wednesday], we have seized around $9 million worth of assets out of the hands of those allegedly engaging in criminal activity," says Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne Gray of the Financial Crime Group.

"Police are well aware there are individuals and organisations enabling this kind of activity and are more than willing to profit off the proceeds of crime.

"Money being laundered in this case is alleged to have come from various sources, including drug dealing."

Police are aiming to seize $500 million in cash and assets by 2021 and enquiries are still ongoing.