By Jacob Kagi | ABC – Sun, Oct 26, 2014 7:47 AM AEDT
Western Australia's Supreme Court has granted an application to freeze bank accounts belonging to two Malaysian citizens following alleged links to international money laundering.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) successfully applied to have restraining orders granted, preventing movement out of the three accounts under legislation which prevented money laundering and terrorism.
The legislation stipulates such an order can be granted if funds were reasonably suspected of being "the proceeds of indictable offences".
The three accounts, which had a combined value of more than $2 million, were established when the Malaysian nationals made brief trips to Perth in August and September, the court was told.
The court was told one of those accounts was linked to an individual who has admitted involvement in international money laundering.
Each account was established with a deposit of $5,000 but have since received regular transfers from third parties of a few thousand dollars, to the point where each is now worth more than $700,000.
The balance of the main account grew by $969,000 in just 60 days through 103 deposits.
Most of the transactions that bolstered those accounts were below the $10,000 threshold which forces financial institutions to notify federal authorities.
One of the accounts received over $100,000 in one day through 11 deposits of between $9,000 and $9,950.
Neither of the two individuals withdrew money from the accounts, which were opened at the Canning Vale branches of ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank.
Presiding Judge Jeremy Allanson found the circumstances "do not suggest that the funds are owned by the only two individuals who are currently identified".
"Neither [account holder] lives in Australia; both appear to have made only fleeting visits to this country," he said.
"I am satisfied [there are] reasonable grounds of suspicion that someone, not identified, caused the transactions in those accounts to be conducted in that manner for the sole or dominant purpose of ensuring that they would not give rise to a transaction that would have been required to be reported]."
Most of the transactions were through cash deposits from New South Wales.
Neither of the holders of the accounts was present for the court proceedings.
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