SYDNEY: Bipin Thapa, a Nepali, Gopali Dahl, Gagandeep Pahwa, Manminder Singh, and Nitin Kapila, charged with participating in a $100 million money-laundering syndicate are said to be ‘distressed’ about huge allegations leveled against them, their lawyer has said.
While Thapa, Dahl, and Pahwa were arrested by detectives from the Criminal Groups Squad on July 11, Kapila was arrested on July 21, and Singh on July 26.
The three were targeted over their alleged role in using a security business firm based in Sydney to launder money in and out of the hands of some organized criminal groups in Australia and abroad.
The group was first believed to have handled $80 million in the period of three to four years, Australian media reported.
Police have alleged that the group led by Pahwa had participated in daily operations of Assure Protection Services, on Woodville Rd, Guildford. They have been refused bail in court.
Pahwa and Thapa had appeared via the audio-visual link at the Parramatta Local Court, while Dahl appeared at Fairfield Local Court via an audio-visual link, according to Syndey Morning Herald.
The security business firm has been alleged of accepting cash from several organized crime groups.
According to their lawyer Ejaz Khan, he and the trio were yet to read the full police fact sheet outlining the charges against them. Khan said that they are distressed due to what he said such ‘huge allegations’.
Lawyer Khan said that the allegations against them are ‘very serious’. While Pahwa has been charged with directing a criminal group, Dahl and Thapa have been charged with contributing to criminal activity by participating in a criminal group.
Earlier on Thursday, they were arrested while executing the search warrant Assure Protection Services’ office. Dahl was, however, arrested at a home in Merrylands West. Investigators are said to have seized around $400,000 in cash, three vehicles, money counting machines, and designer clothing during the raids, according to reports.
According to the company records, the Assure Protection Services is owned by Pahwa Group of Companies Pvt Ltd with Pahwa as the director and secretary between 2016 and 2018. However, Dahl has been the sole company director, secretary, and shareholder since early last year, the reports said. (Agencies)