Five arrested in Australia drug, money laundering bust

Five men including a well-known music promoter have been arrested following an investigation involving the FBI into cocaine trafficking and money laundering in Australia, police said Friday.

Sydney: Five men including a well-known music promoter have been arrested following an investigation involving the FBI into cocaine trafficking and money laundering in Australia, police said Friday.

New South Wales police said the case, which allegedly involves money laundering through casinos, dates back to 2011 when they seized Aus$702,000 (US$500,000) from a Sydney hotel room.

"We`ll allege that the criminal network involved has been importing cocaine to Australia [and] that approximately $5 million or so has been laundered as a result of that importation," Detective Superintendent Scott Cook told reporters.

"[The] $702,000 that we seized in 2011 related to that."

Police said three men were arrested in Sydney on Thursday, another in Melbourne and the fifth in the United States, reportedly as he played golf. 

They did not name the five but the man arrested in Melbourne was named in reports as music promoter Andrew McManus, 54, whose promotion company has been involved in bringing bands such as Kiss to Australia. 

New South Wales police said only that a 54-year-old had been charged with perverting the course of justice, having the intention to defraud by providing a false or misleading statement, and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A lawyer for McManus said his client would "strenuously defend the charges that have been brought against him".

All four arrested in Australia, two of whom face the same charges as McManus while the third was charged with money-laundering, have been released. 

Australian police said they would seek the extradition of the man arrested in the United States, who is a citizen of that country, on allegations of money laundering, drug supply and other offences.
 

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