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Money Laundering Laws

Money laundering is essentially dealing with the proceeds of crime. Both the State and Commonwealth have legislation designed to prevent this from occurring.

The legislative intent is to twofold and broadly defines the two categories of individual charged with these offences:

  1. To stop people who commit serious offences from siphoning off their illegally obtained wealth so that it cannot be easily seized by law enforcement authorities or victims.
  2. To stop third parties from assisting criminals in enjoying the fruits of their crimes.

In the context of the first category, the money-laundering offence will very often be coupled with a substantive charge, such as drug-supply, fraud or obtaining benefits by deception, or a tax or other Commonwealth entity fraud.

In the case of the second category, the charges will often stand alone. The individuals charged this way may be lawyers, accountants, investment advisors or others who handle money on behalf of clients.

Money laundering charges are complex under both the State and Commonwealth law. There is a gradation in the seriousness of the offence based on how much money is involved and what level of knowledge the Crown will be able to establish the accused had. It is possible to be charged with the least serious money-laundering offences based purely on being negligent.

The Crown often couples charges like this with asset seizure and preservation orders under either NSW law or the Proceeds of Crime Act (Cth). These are powerful pieces of legislation which can severely affect your livelihood. More details about these powers can be found here…

Possible Defences

When money laundering charges are laid alongside substantive charges it is sometimes useful to consider what additional conduct the Crown is alleging over and above the main offence. The charge may in fact be an unfair doubling up of charges against an individual. In law this is called duplicity. If this is the case the charges can be withdrawn.

The hardest task for the Crown will always be trying to establish what the person charged knew about the money or property they were dealing in. It is therefore often possible to negotiate the charge into a less serious category or prove outright that you had no knowledge that the funds were reasonably likely to have been illegally obtained.

How Can We Help

As specialist corporate criminal lawyers we understand the business behind the dealings in property and money. We understand these complex offences and have experience in both the State and Commonwealth offence provisions. Our team has the experience to assist if you face other charges related to the money-laundering.

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