How does this specific type of money laundering work

Just read an article on the dailymail that repeated a trope I have heard about criminals a lot. They mentioned people who want to launder money and take it out of a country will simply buy an AP or Richard Mille for 500k to 1m, wear it on their wrist and fly out of the country to resell it in Dubai or some other place.

I can see how that can work if the criminal is from Dubai or any place with a huge luxury market or if they are from a 3rd world country with no checks and balances where they can simply book a private jet and fly it home in suitcases then simply deposit it in their accounts. 

But these people I was reading about were from Australia, whats the point of doing that, its not like you can suddenly deposit 1m in an Australian, American or British bank and no one would raise an eyebrow, plus I don't see "I sold a watch in Dubai" being a good excuse because they would simply ask where you got it from especially if this is something you do regularly.

I don't know why i am asking this, i am just curious if anyone has an idea how this would work if the culprit is from a developed country.  

Comments (9)

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2mo 
theAudiophile, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did the article say they specifically depositied the proceeds into a domestic bank? Obviously in the US you have KML and AML regulations in place and reciprocity agreeements with places like the Caymans and Virgin Islands these days. So that's essentially out. 

Did it mention if these people were registered as vendors/retailers/dealers? That'd give you an out if available. Think of someone who just likes to buy and drive a car for a month and flip it. Get a dealer's license and it's all legal. Wouldn't be too hard to muster up a story that "oh sir, this is such a rare piece that the only buyer I could find was in XXXXX so I had to go there and sell it. The cash I brought back were just the proceeds from the sale!" Pay your excises and taxes, and they won't care most likely.

Did it say anything about wire transfers or ACH? Then that could get real interesting.

Link us the article please. You got me interested now.

  • 4
2mo 
i.can.make.it, what's your opinion? Comment below:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11474023/Sydney-raid-Comanchero-bikie-uncovers-rare-million-dollar-watch-Ferrari-coupe.html?ico=related-replace

2mo 
user121, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Maybe the Dubai watch dealer pays them for the watch by sending money to the money launderer's domestic or wherever bank account directly? Not sure if the bank can or needs to clear any incoming money especially if the money launderer can somehow say it was business income or whatever like if they say they are in the business of buying and selling watches. Just a thought 

1mo 
PEarbitrage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If these guys were smart they would be selling at a loss.  Say you needed to launder 1M, you buy a watch for 1M, sell it for 950K, pocket 150K post return of laundered capital, and book a taxable business loss.  This significantly reduces scrutinty given the fact that we are talking about highly rare prodcuts that the market value is extremely difficult to deternine.  If you aim for your business to have a near net zero income through out the year after expenses the feds are unlikely to pay you much attention.  The problem here is that most of these criminals are greedy ass fucks who trip themselves up by making what they do incredibly obvious. 

As for how, well that is easy enough.  You strucutre an asset trade, sell watch for x accept some other trinket for y, sell that trinket in your home country and distribute proceeds.  Money laundering is all about running the capital through legitimite businesses.  It is a FLOW business, this is why service businesses are the holy grail of laundering.  The billables are entirely upto to what the "client" and business can agree upon for rates.  The more esoteric the srevice provided the easier it is to flow money through rapidly.  This is why RE development is a favorite industry to launder money in.  The consulting services and materials needs provide extensive opportunities to adjust invoives. 

  • 1
1mo 
WolfofWSO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Unsure if this is money laundering or more of a undetected money courier service.

You need to declare currency over $10k while traveling and I can't imagine it would be pleasant to declare currency in the denominations mentioned. So what do you do? Buy a jewelry piece and keep casual.

Google civil asset forfeiture. If you get caught with a large amount of cash and don't have a solid story of where it came from, the authorities can seize it and make you prove its legitimate earned income. Agencies get a cut of what they seize so there is abuse here.

Array

  • 2
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1mo 
theAudiophile, what's your opinion? Comment below:
WolfofWSO

Unsure if this is money laundering or more of a undetected money courier service.

You need to declare currency over $10k while traveling and I can't imagine it would be pleasant to declare currency in the denominations mentioned. So what do you do? Buy a jewelry piece and keep casual.

Google civil asset forfeiture. If you get caught with a large amount of cash and don't have a solid story of where it came from, the authorities can seize it and make you prove its legitimate earned income. Agencies get a cut of what they seize so there is abuse here.

The $10k rule is for US AML. Aussie law doesn't specify an actual amount, just "suspcicious activity". CAF is strong in Aus, but there seems to be quite a few loopholes to let you wriggle out from under, unlike US law.  Aus doesn't seem to be as "black and white" as US law, for better or worse (despite the fact they rounded up COVID patients into camps...then again it's just like we did the same to the Japanese during WWII...). 

  • 1
1mo 
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

your first mistake is reading the daily mail. your second mistake is that the article doesn't mention money laundering. thirdly, people like this swap watches to crooked Jewellers or other criminals in exchange for other goods or services. fourthly, If you like Australian organisation crime, watch Under Belly and Chopper.

  • 2
1mo 
theAudiophile, what's your opinion? Comment below:
2rigged2fail

your first mistake is reading the daily mail. your second mistake is that the article doesn't mention money laundering. thirdly, people like this swap watches to crooked Jewellers or other criminals in exchange for other goods or services. fourthly, If you like Australian organisation crime, watch Under Belly and Chopper.

Thank you! That's a great summary of what I posted earlier and the questions I raised about all this "malarky".

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1mo 
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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