Members of the garda Emergency Response Unit apprehended a man leaving a house carrying €100,000 in shopping bags during raids targeting a major money laundering operation.
Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) yesterday smashed a racket in which Chinese businessmen were laundering money on behalf of several Irish organised crime gangs.
Six Chinese nationals and a Dublin man were last night in garda custody after a big search operation in Dublin and Co Wicklow.
Five business premises and eight homes were searched by CAB officers, who seized €733,499 in cash, stuffed into plastic bags and stashed in one of the houses. They froze a further €301,594 in Irish bank accounts.
Also recovered were four Audi cars and a quantity of high-value goods, including handbags.
Officers suspect that a number of Irish gangs were laundering the profits from their involvement in organised crime, including drug trafficking, through businesses being run by their Chinese associates.
The searches were the culmination of an investigation that had been under way for several months and were intelligence-led.
They were carried out in Dublin's south inner city and south county, as well as north Co Wicklow.
The Dublin man being questioned last night is regarded as a significant figure, who is suspected of acting as a facilitator for money laundering.
The seven were held at garda stations across the capital for questioning about offences contrary to the Criminal Justice Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 2010.
During the search operation, members of the CAB were backed up by the Emergency Response Unit, regional Armed Support Units and officers from the garda National Immigration Bureau and the garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
A garda spokesman said the operation marked a significant development in the Criminal Assets Bureau's ongoing investigation into a criminal network involved in the laundering of funds for a number of national and internationally organised crime groups.
Inquiries are continuing to target properties and other assets suspected of being linked to those under investigation.