Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) have smashed a racket in which Chinese businessmen were laundering money on behalf of several Irish organised crime gangs and seized funds totalling €1,035,093.
Six Chinese nationals and a Dublin man were in Garda custody after a major search operation in Dublin and Co Wicklow.
Five business premises and eight homes were searched by CAB officers, who seized €733,499 in cash stuffed into plastic bags and stashed in one of the houses, and froze a further €301,594 in Irish bank accounts.
Also recovered were four cars and a quantity of high value goods, including handbags. During one search gardaí arrested a man leaving a house carrying €100,000 in shopping bags.
Officers suspect a number of gangs were laundering the profits from their involvement in organised crime, including drug trafficking, through businesses being run by their Chinese associates.
The searches were the culmination of an investigation that had been under way for several months and were intelligence-led.
They were carried out in Dublin's south inner city and south county as well as north Co Wicklow.
The Dublin man being questioned last night is regarded as a significant figure, who is suspected of acting as a facilitator for money laundering.
The men were held at Garda stations across the capital for questioning about offences, contrary to the Criminal Justice Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act, 2010.
During the search operation, members of CAB were backed up by the Emergency Response Unit, regional armed support units and officers from the Garda National Immigration Bureau, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, and Garda National Protective Services Bureau and local district detective units. A Garda spokesman said the operation marked a significant development in the CAB's ongoing investigation into a criminal network involved in the laundering of funds for a number of national and international organised crime groups.