One of the accused ringleaders behind an allegedly elaborate money laundering syndicate has been given bail to live with his wife and newborn child.

Zhou Chen, 37, appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, a week after his arrest during sweeping raids across the country.

Australian Federal Police allege Mr Chen was a “founding member” of the Changjiang Currency Exchange that allegedly was used to clean money for criminal clients.

Over the past three years, police allege, the “CJ Exchange” handled $10.1bn in transactions mixing money of both legitimate and illegitimate clients.

It’s alleged almost $229m in dirty cash was moved in and out of the country, with the syndicate claiming a 10 per cent fee.

Detective Senior Constable Thomas Martin told the court Mr Chen was allegedly one of the “principal benefactors” receiving a 30 per cent cut of the profits.

He said Mr Chen had allegedly reported a $49,000 income in the last financial year, but allegedly received more than $6m into accounts he controlled.

Detective Martin told the court the AFP would allege they have multiple taped phone calls where Mr Chen discussed the “true profits of the CJ Exchange”.

The company, he claimed, had declared $500,000 in profits to the financial regulator but allegedly actually made $40m last financial year and was “on track” to exceed $50m this year.

“We f—— accepted about $100,000 right. It’s all pig butchering money,” Detective Martin alleged Mr Chen said in a taped phone call.

“The AFT alleges pig butchering is a reference to romance scams”.

Opposing bail, prosecutor John Saunders said police held concern Mr Chen could have access to significant amounts of money and networks overseas.

He also argued Mr Chen was at risk of interfering with witnesses or taking efforts to destroy evidence and obstruct justice.

Mr Chen’s barrister, Dermot Dann KC, told the court his client intends to plead not guilty and denies the allegations.

Mr Chen was granted bail by Magistrate Malcolm Thomas who found that while there were substantial risks, these could be moderated by “onerous” bail conditions.

“Your client’s a highly intelligent man, who the prosecution say is well connected with criminal groups,” Mr Thomas said.

“In this case satisfied there is a risk … under these conditions the level of risk would substantially reduce.”

He will be required to wear an ankle monitor, limit access to telephones and the internet and his parents have put up their $1m Templestowe home as a surety.

Mr Chen said he “absolutely” understood if he breached those conditions, he was facing up to three years in custody before his trial could be run.

“I understand that, Your Honour,” he said.

Three other co-accused; Mr Chen’s wife Jie Lu, 38, Jing Zhu, 35, and Jin Wang, 33, were granted bail after prosecutor John Saunders conceded they had a “prima facie entitlement”.

Police allege Ms Wang was a “knowing key facilitator” of the alleged syndicate who worked as the general manager of the Changjiang Currency Exchange.

Ms Lu and Ms Zhu allegedly opened and facilitated bank accounts for the syndicate and benefited from their close relationships with other accused members.

The quartet were among seven charged last Wednesday amid synchronised raids across Australia, with their co-accused expected to apply for bail in the coming weeks.

The AFP labelled this the “most complex” alleged money laundering case in the country’s history.

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