The high court in New Zealand has approved a settlement between the country’s police force and Xiaohua ‘Edward’ Gong which enables forfeiture of more than NZ$70m (US$50m, €41m), mainly cash.
The agreement follows a money laundering investigation linked to a multi-national pyramid scheme.
Officers first restrained the property – more than NZ$68m in cash and a property in East Tamaki Heights, Auckland, North Island – in March 2017 following inquiries into suspicious funds deposited in New Zealand bank accounts between 2009 and 2016. The money was profits from a pyramid investment scheme in China and Canada.
Gong is based in Canada and the money was transferred to New Zealand to conceal its source, said Detective Inspector Craig Hamilton.
“This settlement is a fantastic result and we thank both the Chinese and Canadian authorities for their assistance in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion,” he added.
“This is the largest forfeiture of proceeds of crime ever secured in New Zealand and it reflects the expertise of New Zealand Police when investigating complex, multi-jurisdictional money laundering at the most serious level …
“This outcome sends a simple message to criminals around the world – send your dirty money to New Zealand and you will lose it,” he commented.
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