$60,000 Seized During Foreign Interference Raid

November 17, 2020 Updated: November 17, 2020

An ongoing investigation into former New South Wales (NSW) parliamentary staffer John Zhang has widened to include money laundering after $60,000 in cash was seized from his Sydney home.

Documents filed with the High Court reveal that during the dramatic morning raid in June, which was carried out by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), officers found bundles of cash contained in envelopes.

Officers also found evidence of meetings between Zhang and Beijing’s United Front Work Department, the communist regime’s leading foreign influence and infiltration body, according to court filings obtained by the ABC.

Zhang was the adviser to NSW Labor Party parliamentarian Shaoquett Moselmane, whose home and office was also raided in June.

Moselmane has maintained he is not suspected of breaching foreign interference laws and said the investigation was being carried out in relation to individuals connected with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He has since been reinstated into the NSW Labor Party.

The Epoch Times has previously revealed that Zhang had met with the United Front’s Deputy Minister Tan Tianxing in Sydney in 2017.

Tan’s visit was to encourage local Chinese media owners to report positively on the Belt and Road Initiative, which has received considerable scrutiny in recent months.

Zhang has responded to the raid, meanwhile, filing a complaint in August with the High Court of Australia to challenge the legality of the AFP and ASIO raids. He is also applying for an injunction to destroy or return materials that were seized.

In early November, Melbourne-based Duong Di Sanh became the first person officially charged under the same foreign interference laws that are being used to investigate Zhang.

Meanwhile, the issue of money laundering in Australia has been making headlines in recent weeks.

The NSW Independent Gaming and Liquor Authority has been scrutinising money laundering by Chinese high rollers at casinos owned by Australia’s largest gaming group, Crown Resorts.

While in September the country’s financial services crime watchdog, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), handed down the highest-ever corporate fine in Australian history to Westpac Bank for breaching anti-money laundering laws ($1.3 billion).