Hong Kong Nabs Bank Staff in $810 Million Money Laundering Case

The Hong Kong Island skyline is seen from the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Hong Kong's economy contracted more than originally estimated in the second quarter, as brewing unrest in the city began to damp activity. Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg
The Hong Kong Island skyline is seen from the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Hong Kong's economy contracted more than originally estimated in the second quarter, as brewing unrest in the city began to damp activity. Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police have arrested seven current and former bank staff in the city in an alleged money laundering case involving HK$6.3 billion ($810 million) in dirty money flows over the past four years.

Five men and two women, between the ages of 30 and 37, were arrested, the police said in a statement on Wednesday after making raids on Jan. 19. The banks involved weren’t disclosed.

The crackdown marks the first time local bank employees in the Asian financial hub have been arrested in connection with an international money laundering syndicate, a police spokeswoman said.

A report released last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on leaked documents found that Hong Kong was among the biggest centers in Asia for dodgy money flows from 1999 to 2017.

The police raided seven apartments and five businesses in the operation, according to a statement. In one apartment it seized HK$7.8 million in cash.

The investigation showed that the suspects helped 16 people employed by an international syndicate to launder money through 14 company accounts at local banks.