Police have frozen $34 million of assets linked to a well known Auckland-based restaurant chain - believed to be the most valuable cache of property targeted in a single case.

Police, since 2009, have been able freeze assets they suspect could be the proceeds of crime.

They also can later apply to the High Court to have this property forfeited and over the past six years have snared $64.1 million for the Government's coffers.

As at the end of September, the police had restraining orders in place over $252.1 million worth of property, pending further investigation and court action.


In drug cases, like Operation Arc, about $14 million of assets were seized in 2011 and in another, Operation Ghost, up to $20 million of assets were seized including property, cars and cash.

The police said on Monday that officers from its Northern Asset Recovery Unit had launched civil action against several companies associated with the operation of restaurants, which it did not name but said they were "well known" and based in Auckland.

It followed a joint investigation between Immigration NZ, the labour inspectorate, Inland Revenue and police.

Detective Inspector Paul Hampton, of the police financial crime group, said the joint investigation demonstrated the willingness and ability of government agencies to work together to protect the community, detect and prosecute offenders, and recover ill-gotten gains.

"To those who profit from criminal activity, beware", he said.

Immigration NZ general manager Peter Devoy said: "People who derive income from immigration-related criminal activity accumulating assets will now be the focus of inter-agency attention."
This matter is next due before the Auckland High Court in Auckland in early 2016,