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lawyer who laundered money for Comancheros motorcycle club declined parole

stuff.co.nz

A former lawyer who was jailed after laundering $2.2 million for the Comanchero Motorcycle Club has been declined parole.

Andrew Neill Simpson was jailed in February 2020 for his part in a sophisticated money and drug operation. He was struck off as a lawyer in December.

At sentencing, Justice Gerard Van Bohemen said Simpson not only used his legal knowledge to facilitate the offending, but he also knew it was wrong.

“You used your specialist knowledge as a lawyer to advise on structuring the laundering scheme across the multiple trust accounts you set up,” he told Simpson.

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“You also channelled money through your solicitor’s trust account and made deposits into the accounts yourself. You knew what you were doing was dodgy.”

Simpson, who is now 43, appeared on January 6 in front of the Parole Board, where parole was declined.

A decision released to Stuff showed the board was concerned Simpson, who had not had the opportunity to engage in treatment, would like to return to working as a lawyer in five years.

Simpson told the board being a lawyer is “what he knows, and he is good at it”, the decision said.

“This comment fails to recognise that his dishonest behaviour was not that of a lawyer who is good at their job.”

The board was not confident Simpson understood what led to his offending and what allowed him to continue, and that he has no plan to avoid the same occurring again.

Letters of support acknowledged Simpson’s Christian beliefs and positive character, but the board said that was “clearly at odds” with the dishonest behaviour.

It was also concerned that Simpson did not conduct any form of risk analysis, and his family did not factor into his decision to continue offending.

Panel convenor Tania Williams Blyth said the board is not satisfied Simpson no longer poses an undue risk to the public and parole was declined.

He will reappear for consideration in March.

Williams Blyth ordered an updated psychological assessment to assess Simpson’s offending, risk, appropriate treatment, and an assessment of his release plan.

“It may be that the psychologist will have an opinion regarding ongoing counselling or oversight that Mr Simpson may require.”

In 2020, Comanchero Motorcycle Club president Pasilika Naufahu was found guilty of money laundering and conspiring to supply pseudoephedrine, a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine.

He was arrested alongside Simpson following a series of raids across Auckland in April 2019 in which more than $3.7m in assets was seized along with luxury cars, motorbikes, high-end luggage and jewellery.

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