Hong Kong’s role as an international haven for laundering dirty cash has come under scrutiny for the second time in a week as an Australian crime agency investigation into the business dealings of a suspected Russian drug lord and his former model lover. Australian officials suspect Vadim Volkov, 33, and ex-girlfriend Lauren Bryant, 27, of illegally amassing a multi-million dollar stash of cash through questionable business ventures in Hong Kong and Australia. The pair was said to have funded a lavish lifestyle on holidays to Singapore and Hong Kong featuring luxury hotels and champagne, according to media reports over the weekend. The allegations followed revelations that 90 per cent of the US$1.8 billion that convicted French-Israeli conman Gilbert Chikli laundered went through Hong Kong and mainland banks. The FBI said that, of a list of 70 countries used for scam bank transfers, Hong Kong and China claimed the top two spots. Can Hong Kong’s ‘onion law’ have an effect on money laundering? Hong Kong police were unable to comment on claims by Volkov, Bryant and Chikli. According to Australian supreme court documents cited by newspaper The Courier Mail , Queensland’s crime watchdog looked at Bryant’s bank account for the source of alleged dirty money sent to Hong Kong and Switzerland – two money-laundering centres. The court records were filed by the Corruption and Crime Commission in the case against Volkov in a bid to seize his assets. But Bryant told the commission she had little knowledge of the A$1.1 million (HK$6.4 million) funnelled through her bank account. She also denied knowing how HK$1 million of drug proceeds was deposited in overseas accounts in Volkov’s name. Colombian drug cartels used Hong Kong banks to launder more than US$5bn Bryant told investigators she received “inch-thick” wads of cash to deposit into the bank throughout the pair’s four-year relationship, claiming she never knew the source of the cash. The pair also established a business that sent models to Hong Kong to work “as hostesses or whatever you want to call them”, she said. A raid last year linked to Volkov uncovered drugs, weapons and HK$8.7 million in cash from seized bank accounts. The Russian insisted his earnings stemmed from gambling windfalls and inheritance.