The more than US$5.7 million dollars in cash seized by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), allegedly belonging to a U.S. man in Australia may have links to Costa Rica.
The AFP in Sydney, say the cash is a “only a drop in the ocean”, part of a US$580 million dollars worth of drugs and assets recoverd after a year long cover money laundering operation codenamed “Elgo”.
Led by the Australian Crime Commission, the Eligo National Task Force includes the AFP and AUSTRAC, and is partnered with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and State and Territory police. The task force has disrupted 18 crime groups operating out of more than 20 countries and identified 128 criminal targets previously unknown to law enforcement.
The AFP said it seized the cash on Saturday, January 18, 2014, from a U.S. national who only days before arriving down under visited Costa Rica.
The millions were found spread across seven suitcases. The man, who denied that the money belonged to him, was charged with dealing with the suspected proceeds of crime, and could face 3 years in jail, or up to 25 years in jail if he is also charged with money laundering.
Costa Rica’s Ministro de Seguirad Publica (MSP), Mario Zamora, told the media that he is aware of the seizure and that Costa Rica’s Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad (DIS) – Intelligence Police – were in contact with Australian authorities to learn of the “impact” and links to Costa Rica.