A Canberra tattoo studio that allegedly laundered money for a Comanchero OMC has been shut down under laws allowing police to confiscate criminal assets.
- Police allege the tattoo studio was laundering money “mostly from the supply of drugs”
- Forensic accountants worked with a special bikie taskforce to shut down the business
- The closure comes after the arrest of someone linked to the business
Lakeside Tattoo Parlour in Belconnen in Canberra’s north announced on Facebook earlier this month that it had “temporarily” closed its doors.
Police today revealed the business was closed under criminal assets legislation.
Under the laws, ACT authorities can restrain and then seize property suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
Then, once any criminal matters are dealt with in court, a forfeited business and any assets are sold, with the proceeds going to the ACT Government.
Police seized the business after they arrested alleged Comanchero Canberra chapter “road captain” Jirawat Marrotnok McCallum, 31, on money laundering charges.
Courts documents alleged Mr McCallum paid $30,000 to the tattoo parlour in March last year, despite having had declared an income of $15,000 in 2017 and 2018.
The documents said Mr McCallum was not an employee or tattoo artist, but had received $700 per week from the parlour since August last year.
Mr McCallum is due to appear in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said ACT Policing took control of the business earlier this month and changed the locks.
“There’s been a lot of cash moved, I don’t have the figures in front of me,” he said.
“We believe they were from various organised criminal activities, but mainly the supply of drugs.”
Superintendent Moller said many of the staff at the business were contractors.
“It’s certainly unfortunate for the business, but we’re not going to sit here and watch a Comanchero launder cash through a business in Canberra,” he said.
Facebook rebranded, new business launched within hours
Within hours of the police announcement Lakeside Tattoo Parlour’s Facebook page had been rebranded as Canberra Tattoo Studio.
In a post Canberra Tattoo Studio announced the closure of Lakeside and announced it was “in the process of reopening a new business unaffiliated with those involved [with Lakeside’s alleged wrongdoing]”.
It thanked their “loyal customers” for their “love and support during this difficult time”.
Forensic accountants helped police close shop
Police Minister Mick Gentleman said the successful operation sent a strong message to criminal gangs.
“The ACT Government funded two forensic accountants who were instrumental in the business shutdown, along with our broader funding for Taskforce Nemesis,” he said.
“ACT Policing will work to shut down your activities and cut off your ill-gotten gains.
“If you are a member or associate of an organised crime group, you will be targeted by police and likely find yourself in prison.”
Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the shutdown demonstrated how the ACT’s laws helped to disrupt criminal gangs and deprived criminals of the proceeds of crime.
“The Government’s thorough legal framework designed to dismantle and tackle organised crime through the confiscation of criminal assets is clearly working,” he said.
“These measures will continue to disrupt organised crime groups by preventing their capacity to invest illegally obtained funds into what appear to be legitimate businesses.
“Our legislation has strengthened public safety in our community and is helping ensure that organised crime groups do not escape justice.”
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