Law enforcement authorities have disrupted a sophisticated Chinese money laundering network. This group, notorious for smuggling over one million euros in cash daily, saw five key members arrested this week in Spain.

High-Stakes Operation

From July 2-3, coordinated raids targeted homes, company headquarters, warehouses, and restaurants in Madrid, Valencia, Alicante, and Barcelona. Over a hundred Spanish police officers, along with French Judicial Customs investigators and Europol experts, executed a dozen searches, seizing nearly EUR 160,000 in cash.

Buy Me A Coffee

Investigation Timeline

  • February 2021: French Customs in Perpignan uncovered more than half a million euros hidden in a vehicle with a concealed compartment.
  • Subsequent Investigation: Led by the French National Anti-Fraud Office (ONAF) under the specialized interregional jurisdiction (JIRS) of Marseille, the investigation exposed a money laundering network operating since at least 2019.

Network Details

Composed of Chinese nationals, this network utilized a sophisticated logistics system to smuggle illicit cash across Europe. Their operations funded various illegal activities, including counterfeit goods trafficking, tax and customs fraud, and prostitution.

International Collaboration

The operation was backed by the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT). Participating authorities included:

  • France: National Anti-Fraud Office (Office national anti-fraude – ONAF)
  • Spain: National Police (Policía Nacional)

This successful crackdown underscores the importance of international cooperation in combating organized crime and marks a significant step in the fight against global money laundering.