Sunday, April 1, 2018

Commonwealth lenders helped mafia boss Rocco Arico do laundry

Commonwealth Bank loan officers provided millions of dollars in mortgages to Calabrian mafia kingpin Rocco Arico, who used them to amass a luxury property portfolio and launder cash from his drug and extortion empire. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is an Australian multinational bank with businesses across New Zealand, Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom. The scam came to light during a police sting in 2015. Arico was recorded in a street-corner conversation telling an underworld associate that certain Commonwealth bankers were willing to write up loans even if the borrower had suspect means of income.
“I’ll organize it with the banker," Arico said. "You come in the Commonwealth Bank, we see the bank fucking guy, give your details, sign the documents, to go for the loan and let me worry about it.” The tapes reveal how Arico laundered huge amounts of cash spinning from his lucrative drug business. It was all about property loans. The dirty cash to clean asset operation wasn't possible without bankers prepared to write up dodgy loans. 

Detectives traced 12 properties comprising a portfolio worth at least $15 million. Another $11 million worth had already been sold off.
Arico's home was funded by the meth trade, and so luxurious that police dubbed it the "Ice Castle".
Five properties are frozen as proceeds of crime. Among Arico's portfolio was a luxury home in Sandringham, an apartment in high-rise Eureka Tower, a bathing box on Safety Beach, a townhouse project and several residential development sites. Arico's Beach house
Rocco Arico, 39, was suspected of arranging the prison murder of gangland boss Carl Williams. He has strong ties to the Calabrian mafia, known as ‘Ndrangheta. 

Arico was sentenced last year to 14 more years prison for extortion, drug trafficking, violence and weapons offences.
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