NZ Comanchero trial: Jury to decide fate of club president in money laundering, drug trial

It is now up to a jury of 12 to decide whether they think the president of the Comanchero MC and another man conspired to deal drugs.

After more than four weeks, the trial against president Pasilika Naufahu, Connor Michael Tamati Clausen and a woman with name suppression wrapped up on Monday with Justice Graham Lang summing up the case to the jury.

The trio were arrested following a series of raids across Auckland in April 2019 in which more than $3.7 million in assets was seized along with luxury cars, motorbikes, high-end luggage and jewellery.

Naufahu is charged with two charges of money laundering in relation to the purchase of a Bentley and Ford Ranger. He also is charged alongside Clausen with conspiring to supply pseudoephedrine.

Justice Lang said the trial involved allegations of drugs, gangs, large quantities of cash and luxury vehicles, but the jury should not draw any adverse inferences or prejudice about the defendants.

It was up to the Crown to prove the charges to the jury beyond reasonable doubt, he said.

Justice Lang told the jurors they were now the sole judges of the facts before releasing them to deliberate a verdict on each charge.


Earlier on Monday, Naufahu’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said his client has been painted as a “demon”, but he is not a drug dealer despite the police’s best efforts to pin him as one.

Mansfield said police were “obsessed” with Naufahu despite the “woeful state” of the evidence.

“That is because the Crown knows, despite the best endeavours of the New Zealand Police force for over a year, there was no direct evidence of Pasilika Naufahu being involved in drug dealing activity here or abroad,” Mansfield said.

No drugs were found after the searches in April 2019, the court heard.

Naufahu and his family were subject to 24/7 surveillance with a camera positioned at the end of their driveway, but no drug-dealing activity had been captured, Mansfield said.

The court has previously heard there were a number of trusts set up and various bank accounts were used to allegedly launder money to then purchase luxury cars and property.

Naufahu previously admitted funds that were used to purchase his home and some vehicles was laundered through lawyer Andrew Simpson and a convicted drug dealer.

The Crown’s case is that cash was deposited into Naufahu’s wife’s account which was then used to pay for the Ford Ranger, despite her not declaring any income during that time.

However, Mansfield said there was no evidence the vehicle was purchased with laundered money.

Over the course of the trial, the court has heard hours of intercepted calls between Naufahu and other associates, including a convicted drug dealer at the heart of the case.

He was observed, during the police’s covert investigation, meeting with Naufahu on multiple occasions.

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Source: Stuff