Altaf Khanani is a wanted man. He leads a syndicate that launders billions of dollars for the world's biggest drug cartels and armed groups, including the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

He has evaded authorities for decades.

"The network that he built on six different continents created an air about him that he was an untouchable," says Robert Cassita, a US Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

"I always kind of liken him to a James Bond villain."

From his base in Karachi, Pakistan, Khanani exploited a traditional money transfer system called Hawala to launder money for criminals across the globe; from Mexico's most dangerous cocaine cartels to bike gangs, Hezbollah and the armed groups responsible for the Mumbai attacks in 1993 and 2008, which together killed more than 400 people.

"Altaf Khanani was the number one international controller as far as organised crime and terrorist funding was in the world at that time," says David Stewart of the Australian Federal Police. "And we knew that he was causing significant impact on multiple countries throughout the world, and that's why we had to take some action."

In an unprecedented international manhunt initiated in Australia, law enforcers from five countries join forces to bring him down.

The agents pose as traffickers from a fake drug cartel needing to wash cash. They gain Khanani's trust and lure the financial mastermind into a trap to take him out.

101 East goes inside the year-long undercover sting to catch the world's most-wanted money launderer.

Source: Al Jazeera