Judge must decide if $1 million cash flow was legit

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A judge must decide whether a family’s cash flow came from selling BZP party pills after they were made illegal or from wholesale synthetic cannabinoid products – which could still be sold legally at the time.

Hugh James Robinson pleaded his own case in Christchurch High Court. At the hearing, the police commissioner is trying to get court orders for the forfeiture of $952,349, which police say was illegal income.

Robinson was convicted and jailed for four years in 2016 after being convicted in a jury trial of conspiracy to sell the Class C drugs, possess them in his home, car, business premises and his storage unit, and unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition in a storage unit on Russley Rd.

The three-day hearing ended today, with Judge Cameron Mander reserving judgment on the commissioner’s civil claim.

The commissioner is seeking restraining orders against Robinson and his Russian wife Svetlana who told the court the family’s money came in part from her inheritance from her family in Russia, which included jewelry sales and the sale of paintings by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

Crown Prosecutor Karyn South said the couple were unable to seek relief due to hardship because if the forfeiture orders were made they would still have assets worth around £400 $000 plus investments in Russia.

In his closing speech, Robinson accused the police of taking a “blind and obsessed” view of the case by refusing to acknowledge that there had been cash flow from the manufacture and sale of products to based on synthetic cannabinoids, which were still legal for some time after the government banned party pills.

He said the party pills found in his possession when police ended their investigation had been “hidden” by his son Jamie Robinson, who had been convicted of his own trafficking.

The Robinsons presented a series of witnesses regarding cash purchases of synthetics from the Robinsons’ business. These were not meant to cover all sales, but were “indicative” of the amount of sales, Robinson said.

He admitted that a large number of customers did not want to come to the hearing to testify because they may be selling the product without paying tax and they did not want their business to be brought to light. attention of the tax department.

The police’s refusal to accept that there would have been large cash sales showed a “dismal understanding of the industry”, he said.

The company was operating “at a time when regulations and social norms were changing rapidly,” he said.

The Robinsons presented evidence of the sale of the paintings and jewelry.

South said the $952,349 was the police estimate of illegal benefits derived from illegal transactions, shown in cash deposits or unidentified cash or check transactions for certain property purchases. She said that meant real estate transactions were “tainted” by the illegal income.

She said the police case was that there had been cash deposits totaling $832,000 from illegal sales of party pills, but that it had been ‘mingled’ with the legitimate income of the business.

-By David Clarkson
Multimedia Journalist Open Justice

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