Australia Cops, ED Expose Dirty Money Laundering
NEW DELHI:It was a tip-off from Australian Federal Police (AFP) in September last year to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) headquarters in Delhi that lead to several searches in Amritsar and Delhi. However, the extent of the racket was not immediately known. After months-long joint investigation with AFP, the dots were connected. By examining the seized documents from India and Australia, the ED sleuths have exposed penetration of Australia-Hong Kong-India-US-UK money laundering network that used proxy companies in Australia, Hong Kong, US and India to launder drug money using legitimate 44 bank accounts in India which were recently freezed by the ED.
The investigation report accessed by The Sunday Standard reveals Tripat Enterprises, SK Trading Pvt Ltd, Ymaxis Pvt Ltd, Billion Trend Forex Pvt Ltd, Professional Forex Services Pvt Ltd (all Australian companies) and AVS Trading Ltd, Billion Trend HK Trading Ltd, Global Associates Ltd, Greatway Traders (all Hong Kong companies) and Raja & Co. Forex Pvt Ltd, based out of India, were used to camouflage the actual nature of the source of the money. This lead to first placement of the funds into the banking system and then layered to integrate the money into the banking system.
The report has revealed names of six NRIs: Bunty Sharma, Gulshan Kumar, Mandeep Singh, Sanjeev Saini, Ravinder Pal Singh, Sachin Sharma; three Indians: Gagandeep Singh, Paramdeep Singh, Gaurav Gupta; and four Australian drug lords: Assam Lababidi, Michael Ross Harvey, Michael Polymiadis and Giovanni Papandrea. The probe report said Gagandeep Singh’s Billion Trend HK Trading Ltd, Hong Kong, received 9.8 million Australian dollars (1 Australian dollar = Rs 46.75) from Billion Trend, Australia, between November 2012-May 2014 while Paramdeep Singh’s AVS Trading Ltd Hong Kong received 10.3 million Australian dollars from Billion Trend Forex, Tripat Entreprises, AVS Forex Ltd and Ymaxis Enterprises in Australia.
“Enquiries by Australian Federal Police showed that Gaurav Gupta is in contact with Gagandeep Singh and Paramdeep Singh regarding the co-ordination of the transfers of the network’s money-laundering activities,” the report said noting Gagandeep travelled to Australia in September, 2013, and opened a bank account number 10209573 in Commonwealth Bank, Sydney. He is also authorised signatory of Hong Kong based company with account number 652173634838 while AVS trading Ltd account number used to transfer money was 288542681883. Bank account statement of Billion Trend Forex in Sydney shows on an average one transfer was made to Billion Trend HK, Hong Kong. Sample this: In February-March 2013, 1 million Australian dollars was moved with average one transfer every day.
The account details of all other companies, SK Trading-bank account with St. George bank and New Zealand Banking Group, SK Trading NSW with Commonwealth bank, Ymaxis Enterprises with Commonwealth bank, Tripat Enterprises with Commonwealth bank and AVS Forex Forex with ANZ bank shows that organised syndicate channelized the funds through various bank accounts in Australia and Hong Kong and merged them into mainstream to camouflage the source of the funds.
The ED officers collected crucial documents from AFP, which indicate the role of each individual and the way in which the funds generated by the Australian mafia involved in drug trafficking have been transferred into funds of legitimate origin.
The investigation found Gaurav Gupta having transactions of Rs 50-60 lakh per month with Gagandeep and Paramdeep Singh. He was also making payments into Billion Trend Forex through Bunty from whom he used to arrange payments in UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and some countries in Europe.
“It has come to light that from September 2013 to 2014, he was involved in illegal transactions and dealing with funds to the tune of Rs 365 crore,” report said.
Gupta admitted he involved in illegal fund transfer: ‘To & From’ other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Holland and USA. “He also used to arrange payments through money laundering networks in UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Europe and has given details of specific transactions,” report said.
Since the matter has international ramifications, ED has initiated enquiries with other countries to collect evidence. Exposing the modus-operandi AFP alleged that India-based Alternate Remittance Services co-ordinates a network of Australia-based cash-collectors and money-exchange agents to launder millions of dollars of organised crime group’s proceeds largely coming from illegal drug sale.