ACT police use new ‘unexplained wealth’ laws to seize property belonging to Nomads bikie gang president


ACT police have seized $500,000 worth of property belonging to an outlaw bikie gang leader under new “unexplained wealth” laws.

The police operation took place simultaneously across four locations last Thursday, targeting Nomads motorcycle gang national president Michael Clark.

Police confiscated three boats, fishing equipment, trailers and a caravan in the Batemans Bay area, as well as three Harley Davidson motorcycles in Canberra.

The property adds to two prestige cars and other items already seized from Mr Clark after his arrest in August.

Mr Clark was one of 11 people arrested as part of a cross-border investigation of several shootings on the New South Wales South Coast in December 2019.

The 32-year-old was extradited to NSW and charged with knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group, taking part in a criminal group, supplying banned firearms and supplying ammunition.

He was refused bail and remains in custody.

After his arrest, police raided two properties in Canberra suburbs Kingston and Kambah, and allegedly found a gun, illicit drugs, jewellery and bikie paraphernalia, including patches.

Legal changes provide broader powers to confiscate property

Detective Superintendent Scott Moller says the investigation of Michael Clark is ongoing.(ABC News)

With Mr Clark behind bars, ACT authorities have used new laws targeting unexplained wealth to seize some of his assets.

Policing Detective Superintendent Scott Moller warned his team were not done yet investigating the bikie boss.

“Certainly this investigation is not over and I’d imagine there will be further items seized in the future,” he said.

It is the first time the powerful new laws have been used.

In the past, authorities were only able to confiscate assets if a person had committed a serious offence and there was a link between the crime and their assets.

A boat on a trailer in a car park.
Another of the boats in the Batemans Bay area that ACT police seized last week.(Supplied: ACT Policing)

But the amended confiscation of criminal assets laws mean authorities now need only to suspect that a person’s wealth is due to criminal activity, because their lawfully acquired wealth is less than their total wealth.

“It’s very clear when an offender doesn’t have the financial income to support their lifestyle,” Superintendent Moller said.

“Many offenders or crime syndicates may believe that, once money has been invested in an asset such as property, it’s safe.

Victims of crime benefit as police take back criminal income

A man in a suit.
ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold, SC, says the new laws are a powerful anti-crime tool.(ABC News)

After an alleged offender’s assets are confiscated, they can be forfeited and become ACT property.

The forfeited assets are then usually sold off, with much of the proceeds spent helping victims of crime.

Over the past two years, authorities restrained about $7.2 million worth of property, and about $2.8 million was forfeited to the ACT.

ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold, SC, said the law was a powerful tool that deprived criminals of a financial windfall and ensured crime did not pay.

“If there’s no benefit in engaging in criminal activity, there’s a disincentive to engage in that criminal activity, so it’s really about breaking the business model of organised crime.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to disincentivise the conduct of crime — the territory wants to be an inhospitable environment for criminal gangs.”

Superintendent Moller said ACT Policing would continue to use several investigative strategies and laws to disrupt organised crime.

“Our end game is that there’s no profit in crime in Canberra and our detectives are using these new unexplained wealth laws to make sure of that,” he said.

“Removing assets limits offenders from re-investing money in illegal activities or expanding their wealth to commit more crime.”



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AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Paused Over ‘Potentially Unexplained Illness’ in UK



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A third trial round for an AstraZeneca vaccine against the virus was launched in the United States in August. Earlier, tests on other COVID-19 vaccines were begun in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. The vaccine is reportedly being developed as a joint partnership between the University of Oxford and its spin-off company, Vaccitech.

The third round of trials for the AstraZeneca anti-coronavirus vaccine has been halted to look into a “potentially unexplained illness” in a participant from the United Kingdom, Stat News reported, citing a company representative.

According to the AstraZeneca spokesperson, the “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.” The nature of the possible side effect was not immediately known, with reports only describing it as “potentially unexplained illness” which has to be reviewed.

“We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials”, Stat News quoted the AstraZeneca spokesperson saying.

The quoted statement outlined that it is common for large trials to see pauses in the event of an unexplained illness.

​Brazilian Health Agency Anvisa, cited by CBN, confirmed suspension of the trials and outlined that the participants, including Brazil, had been informed.

According to Stat, the hold in the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trials will impact clinical tests conducted by other vaccine manufacturers. 

Companies also developing COVID-19 vaccines include Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, Novavax Inc, Sanofi and several others. AstraZeneca launched a third round of trials in the US in August, earlier starting tests in other countries.

Russia registered the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19, dubbed Sputnik V, on 11 August, later announcing the start of volunteer testing in the upcoming weeks.

The first batch of the Russian vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), was released into public circulation earlier on Monday.

At least 20 countries expressed interest in purchasing or distributing the vaccine, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and India.





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