– Victoria Police has been forced to refer multimillion-dollar alleged proceeds of crime cases to its federal counterparts because of fears state laws are inadequate to launch a prosecution.
One organised crime figure, who cannot be named, has amassed a $20 million fortune, but appears not to have a legitimate income. His wealth compares with the amount seized from drug kingpin Tony Mokbel, although it was alleged Mokbel’s total assets were worth almost $60 million.
Police say existing unexplained wealth laws are not robust enough as they force police to prove an asset is bought with the proceeds of crime before a court can order it to be seized or restrained under the Confiscation Act. As a result, the $20 million case has been referred to the Australian Federal Police.
Detective Senior Sergeant Andrew Kerr said the onus should be on suspected criminals to prove how they managed to accumulate their wealth or assets legally.
Detective Senior Sergeant Kerr said police wanted to be able to ask alleged criminals, “You’re driving a Lamborghini, you’ve got all this money, you’ve got a house in Toorak, where’s all this come from?”
Attorney-General Robert Clark said he would amend the unexplained wealth legislation.
Mr Clark has already introduced legislation that will allow bikie gangs to be outlawed.
Advocacy groups have long rallied against unexplained wealth and disassociation laws, arguing that they are an invasion of civil liberties.
The reversal of the onus of proof began with the Tax Office but had spread to several federal agencies, Fairfax Media reported last month.
Detective Senior Sergeant Kerr dismissed concerns that improved unexplained-wealth legislation would be used so police could cast a wider net that might catch innocent people.
Federal agencies regularly work with state police forces to probe the interstate reach of organised crime, but Detective Senior Sergeant Kerr said it was preferable that his officers handled Victorian matters rather than referring them on, as they have had to do with the unnamed crime figure – Nino Bucci


About Jumpin' Jack Cash
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