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People smugglers' shopping front

People smugglers' shopping front

Sat August 4, 2012 11:03am

POLICE suspect the relatives of people smugglers are using a Melbourne grocery store to transfer funds offshore to pay for places on asylum boats.

Authorities suspect the store in Victoria's Dandenong is one of six shops in the same street being used to send money to people smugglers overseas, The Weekend Australian reports.

Federal police and members of the local community believe the store is owned by relatives of convicted people smuggler Haji Sakhi, who was deported from custody in Indonesia to Pakistan earlier this year, according to the report.

One of the store's owners, Ali Ashgar, reportedly denies both the relationship with Mr Sakhi and any involvement in people smuggling.

The other owner, Juma Khan Karimi, could not be reached for comment, the newspaper says.

Sakhi is believed to be involved in people smuggling activities dating back to 1999.

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