The RCMP have laid charges against 17 people allegedly involved in an extensive international money laundering network with ties to organized crime and seized over $32-million in assets.
At a news conference Tuesday, the RCMP said the network had cells in Montreal and Toronto that collected and laundered money from Montreal criminal groups.
“This procedure allowed for the laundering of significant amounts of money originating from illegal activities, including drug trafficking. The criminal organizations could thus import drugs through this network,” the RCMP said.
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Supt. Martine Fontaine said the network used connections in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the United States and China to launder money before returning it to drug-exporting countries, such as Colombia and Mexico.
“It’s like if you take money from your left pocket and then exit it through your right pocket,” RCMP Sgt. Francois-Olivier Myette officer told reporters.
Fontaine said it had the capacity to handle tens of millions of dollars.
On Monday more than 300 officers from the RCMP and other forces, aided by the Canada Revenue Agency, took part in raids in Ontario and Quebec as part of a probe named “Project Collector.” They seized drugs, cash and bank accounts and restrained real estate with a total estimated value of $32.8 million.
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Seventeen people face charges including conspiracy, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, gangsterism and laundering proceeds of crime.
The network’s alleged leaders, Nader Gramian-Nik, 56, of Vaughan, Ont., and Mohamad Jaber, 51, of Laval, Que., were among those arrested.
Three suspects at large
Three people are still being sought following Monday’s raids. They are Francisco Javier Jiminez Guerrero, 35, Victor Vargotskii, 56, and Frederick Rayman, 77.
Here are the names of those charged.
- Mohamad Jaber, 51 years, Laval
- Kamel Ghaddar, 39 years old, Laval
- Eric Bradette, 36 years old, L’Assomption
- Sergio Violetta Galvez, 43 years old, Laval
- Alexei Parasenco, 26 years old, Montreal
- Mario Maratta 64, years old, Sainte-Sophie
- Sorin Ehrlich, 62 years old, Montreal
- Gary Maybee, 57 years old, Austin
- Nader Gramian-Nik, 56 years old, Vaughan
- Tania Geramian-Nik, 28 years old, Vaughan
- Sahar Shojaei, 45 years old, Thornhill
- Thomas Hsueh, 47 years old, Thornhill
- Mohammadreza Sheikhhassani, 55 years old, Richmond Hill
- Shabnam Mansouri, 38 years old, Maple
*With files from Global News