Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Minh Phat TRUONG

Year: 
2015-2016
Category: 
Money Laundering
Location: 
Victoria

Victorian green grocer, 51-year-old Minh Phat Truong was sentenced on 15 March 2016 in the Victorian County Court to eight and half years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 6 years for serious money laundering offences.

Truong successfully appealed against his sentence and on 21 September 2016, the Victorian Court of Appeal resentenced him to a total effective sentence of six years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.

Truong was charged as part of Operation Volante, an AFP investigation conducted between January 2012 and March 2013 into an international drug importation, money laundering and drug trafficking syndicate. Truong’s cousin, Suky Lieu was an Australian principal in the syndicate and was responsible for importing heroin from Vietnam and trafficking methamphetamine and methoxymethamphetamine in Victoria and NSW.

A significant part of Lieu’s drug trafficking business was co-ordinated and carried out in conjunction with Hong Kong members of a wider drug syndicate.  By arrangement with Hong Kong based associates, Lieu was able to access supplies of drugs that were imported and warehoused in Sydney. As and when drugs were available in Sydney and required, Lieu and his Hong Kong associates would make arrangements for subordinates to meet in Sydney so that drugs could be handed over for intended transportation back to Melbourne and subsequent distribution and sale through Lieu’s own network.

On 26th June 2015 Lieu was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years in relation to his drug importation, drug trafficking and money laundering offending. Truong assisted Lieu to remit proceeds of drug trafficking from Australia to Hong Kong by laundering the money offshore through Crown casino.

Truong arranged for his business associate, who also worked at Crown casino as an authorised representative of an Indonesian based junket operator, to deposit money (in the form of cash or gaming chips) at the casino into the junket account, and he also arranged for the overseas telegraphic transfer of the funds deposited into the junket operator’s account. Truong was instrumental in proposing and devising the money laundering scheme through the casino, amounting to some $696,500.

Minh Truong was convicted and sentenced for the following offences:

  • One count of dealing with money or other property that was, and that he believed to be, the proceeds of crim and at the time of dealing the value of the money or property was $50,000 or more  contrary to subsection 400.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)

  • Three counts of dealing with money or other property that was, and that he believed to be, the proceeds of crime and at the time of dealing the value of the money or property was $100,000 or more contrary to subsection 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)

In his Judgment, Court of Appeal Justice Priest  remarked that ‘the applicant’s offending cannot be said to be other than serious. He was part of the conduit via which Lieu was able to launder drug money, and, so it seems, introduced Moo and Kevin Zhang into the scheme.’

Balancing the circumstances of the applicant and of the offending, including the aggravating and mitigating features, the Court of Appeal determined that the sentence imposed in the County Court was manifestly excessive.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2016/228.html - Link to the Court of Appeal Judgement

https://www.cdpp.gov.au/news/tan-dai-green-grocer-sentenced-25-years-gaol-drug-offencesLink to the Court of Appeal Judgement to results of Suky Lieu case report including Court of Appeal Judgement.