Australian police seize $4m worth of Chinese properties as part of money laundering probe

SYDNEY (DPA) - Three Chinese-owned properties in Melbourne valued at A$4.1 million (S$3.9 million) have been seized by Australian police and forfeited to the Commonwealth as part of an investigation into Chinese money launderers, federal police announced on Saturday (June 8).

It follows a joint investigation by Australian police and China's Ministry of Public Security into offshore funds allegedly being laundered in Australia by Chinese nationals.

It has been alleged in Melbourne Supreme Court that the assets were listed as owned by a Chinese national operating under an assumed identity. The 32-year-old subsequently left Australia and is believed to have relocated to the Caribbean, police said in a statement.

The court ordered the seizure of two homes and a commercial property in Melbourne after the Chinese national failed to respond to court orders.

Funds raised from the public sale of the assets will go towards law enforcement and crime prevention programmes.