The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) says it has cracked down on an international money-laundering network operated by organized-crime cells in Montreal and Toronto.
Police arrested seventeen people, including seven citizens of Iran, in early morning raids in the two cities Monday, seizing nearly 25 million US dollars in assets.
At a news conference Tuesday, the RCMP said the network had cells in Montreal and Toronto that collected and laundered money from the Montreal-based criminal groups.
"It is by depriving criminal groups of their money-laundering networks that we will shake the very structure of organized crime,'' said RCMP Supt. Martine Fontaine Tuesday at a news conference.
Fontaine added that the network laundered money via connections in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the United States, and China before sending it back to drug-exporting countries, such as Colombia and Mexico. She said the group had the capacity to launder tens of millions of dollars.
The suspects, aged 26 to 71, were all officially charged on Wednesday, February 13, with conspiracy, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and laundering proceeds of crime.
Several Iranian-owned Forex bureaus reportedly involved in the money laundering, were also dismantled after the RCMP operation.
According to initial reports, Iranian citizens, Nader Geramian-Nik, 56, Ms.Tania Geramian-Nik, 28, Ms. Sahar Shojaei, 45, Mohammad Reza Sheikh Hassani, 55, and Ms. Shabnam Mansouri, 38, are among the detainees.
Meanwhile, an Iranian citizen, Nader Geramian-Nik of Vaughan, Ontario, and Mohamad Jaber, 51, of Laval, Quebec, have been named as the leaders of the network.
The arrests were the result of a two-year investigation launched in the spring of 2016, RCMP announced. The suspects targeted were allegedly collecting money from criminal organizations in Montreal and then moving it through various individuals and currency exchange offices in Toronto.
Based on the official reports, three suspects, Francisco Javier Jimenez Guerrero, 35, Victor Vargotskii, 56, Frederick Rayman, 77, are still sought, following Monday’s raids.