Notorious former Hells Angels bikie Dayne Brajkovich scored himself a slice of a gold mine after Australia’s biggest mint sold him $27,000 worth of the metal without question.
The shop at WA government-owned Perth Mint is a licensed dealer of gold, silver, platinum and palladium metals.
Customers are able to sell their unwanted jewellery, coins, bars and natural materials containing the metal to the shop, which is then liquefied and turned into a coin or bullion and put on sale.
Buyers are then able to purchase the metal “over the counter” or phone – permitted they have already registered – with the sale “subject to certain ID and payment requirements”.
“As per our company policy The Perth Mint Shop is required to verify the identity of customers for trades over $2000,” the mint states on its website.
This is in line with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF Act) Act 2006.
Former Hells Angels bikie member Dayne Brajkovich purchased $27,000 worth of gold at The Perth Mint (above). Picture: ABCCustomers wishing to purchase over $2000 worth of gold must show a valid ID. Picture: Tourism WA
Therefore customers wishing to purchase a metal over that value are required to show a valid driver’s licence, or a passport or proof of age card together with a utility bill.
As for high-risk customers, the mint is legally required to conduct rigorous background checks to evaluate where the person sourced their money to purchase the products.
However, a Four Corners investigation found this to not be the case for Brajkovich, an ex-sergeant-at-arms for outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) Hells Angels, who was able to purchase gold at the gift shop despite his criminal history.
The heavily-tattooed former bikie who has served time in jail for drug and assault-related offences, said he was only asked for a driver’s licence when making his gold purchase in June last year.
While news.com.au is not suggesting Brajkovich illegally sourced his money, experts told the program the 43-year-old’s reputation should have been a “red flag”.
“He’s a well-known entity, and it would be pretty hard to argue that an organisation didn’t know about that reputation,“ author and financial crime expert Nathan Lynch told Four Corners.
“But that’s beside the point. They have a legal obligation to look into customers that come in their door, to know who they are and to look into their background.”
A spokesperson for The Perth Mint told news.com.au the entities who sell metals are legally required to carry out Know Your Customer (KYC) identity checks on customers purchasing bullion valued at $5000 or more.
“The Perth Mint goes beyond this requirement by obtaining identity information on any individual spending $2000 or more on bullion,” the spokesperson said.
“Further, as part of adherence to the AML/CTF Act, The Perth Mint is required to and fulfils its obligation to lodge a Suspicious Matter Report (SMR) with AUSTRAC if we suspect a person or transaction is linked to crime.”
Brajkovich has made headlines before for his unique face tattoos. Picture: Philip Gostelow/NCA NewsWire
The country’s financial crime agency AUSTRAC is already investigating the mint as part of an external audit to ensure Gold Corporation trades are abiding by Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing laws.
Without commenting on the case of the $27,000 gold purchase, Ms Rose said AUSTRAC generally remained vigilant to uncover money laundering.
“AUSTRAC does not hesitate to take action where a business that we regulate is failing to satisfy their responsibility to protect themselves and Australia’s financial system from criminal activity,” AUSTRAC chief executive officer Nicole Rose said following the agency’s audit announcement last year.
“We will continue to work closely with Gold Corporation to address compliance concerns.”
If found to have breached these laws, the mint would be forced to cough up tens of millions of dollars in fines likely to come at the expense of taxpayers.
Gold provides an alternative for criminals to move their assets and isn‘t as easily traced as money when it comes to laundering.
“The high intrinsic value of bullion allows it to be used by criminals to store and invest the proceeds of crime,” AUSTRAC states on its website.
“Criminals target bullion dealers to launder illicit funds and evade taxes, and facilitate crimes including fraud, scams and drug trafficking.
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“Similarly to legitimate investors, criminals may use gold as a hedge against inflation, currency risk, and a store of value during economic and political uncertainty.”
News.com.au is not suggesting Brajkovich has purchased the gold for this purpose.