A man has pleaded not guilty after police restrained more than $10.2 million worth of assets and arrested 10 people as the result of an extensive money laundering investigation.
Police carried out 12 search warrants across Auckland in March, including a Newmarket business and numerous residential homes.
Four properties and three vehicles - worth more than $10 million - in St Heliers, Kumeu and New Lynn were restrained.
More than 20 bank accounts, cash, high value items and cryptocurrency wallets were also restrained, worth around $1 million. This includes around $200,000 worth of jewellery.
Ten people are facing charges – nine men and one woman - between the ages of 32 and 70.
All are currently moving through the court system. Four were scheduled to appear at Auckland District Court today.
One man pleaded not guilty to three charges of obtaining more than $1000 by deception. He has been remanded on bail until a case review hearing on May 21.
Two others are scheduled to appear on Thursday.
Others face multiple charges each including money laundering, obtaining by deception and possessing methamphetamine, cannabis and cocaine for supply.
The action comes as part of an investigation by the Financial Crime Group into money laundering and other offences.
Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid said this was the third in a trilogy of operations run in 2020 and 2021.
The three operations have seen a total of $21 million in assets frozen and 28 people arrested.
"Police will allege that this money-laundering operation was running out of a ... foreign exchange business operating within the Auckland CBD," Schmid said at the time of the arrests.
"Police will allege that those funds being laundered were helping to fund the importation of illegal drugs into New Zealand."
The funds were also generated by these individuals and organised crime groups involved in the manufacture and supply of drugs, theft, and fraud-related offending.
"Our inquiries to date indicate that funds were being laundered and sent offshore by those involved in this operation to settle payment for illicit drugs and other illicit commodities being sent to our country," said Schmid.
All three of the investigations have targeted high-end money launders operating across Auckland city.
"When we talking about money laundering, we talk about these funds that have been generated from illegal activity such as the importation, manufacture, sale and supply of controlled drugs, theft, fraud-related offending.
"This is a timely reminder for anyone involved in this sort of activity that money laundering is not a victimless crime."
Schmid said the investigation so far hasn't established a link to any recognised gangs in New Zealand.