Luxury cars and handbags, cash, gold worth $7m seized in ‘unexplained wealth’ probe

More than $7 million worth of luxury items such as cars, handbags and watches have been seized as police crack down on unexplained wealth in New South Wales.

Detectives from the state’s Crime Commission and Organised Crime Squad started looking into assets that may have been acquired by organised criminal activity.

After weeks of investigation, police executed search warrants at properties across Sydney, including Padstown, Bankstown, Yagoona and Drummoyne on Thursday.

Raptor Squad officers attended a Padstown home where they found 14 luxury handbags from brands such as Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Five “man bags” were also taken, as well as luxury watches designed by Rolex and Breitling, Cartier jewellery and $10,000 in cash.

In Bankstown, police seized a number of vehicles including a 2018 McLaren MA3 Coupe, 2021 BMW S1000R, a 1971 Mazda RX2 and 1983 Holden Gemini.

More than $20,000 in cash was also confiscated from the home.

Police later seized a $1 million Lamborghini Aventador in Drummoyne and several electronic devices and documents that will be examined.

While in Yagoona $80,000 worth of gold was found.

Three men were searched but no charges were laid.

The seizure of the items follows the Minns government in February introducing stronger laws to give police more power to target and confiscate items from individuals who cannot explain how they purchased the asset.

Organised Crime Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Peter Faux said the new powers were allowing them to get on top of criminals and associates.

“We know those at the top end of organised criminal networks follow the money,” he said.

“The big players tend to enjoy the wealth whilst keeping their heads down and their hands clean, but now we have the authority to put them before a court to show us how they made their money – something many of them will struggle to do.”

Darren Bennett, Executive Director of the NSW Crime Commission, said police can seize items even if there was no “specific offence”.

“The next step is civil court, where the owner of those assets is required to justify the goods were acquired through legal income. If they can’t do that, the assets are ultimately returned to the people of New South Wales,” he said.

Mr Bennett flagged there was more unexplained wealth investigations on the way.

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