Author: Nyman Gibson Miralis

Subject: Money Laundering

Keywords: AUSTRAC, money laundering and terrorism financing, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)

 

Money laundering threatens Australia’s prosperity, undermines the integrity of its financial system and funds further criminal activity which impacts on community safety and wellbeing.

For these reasons, strategic intelligence assessments recognise money laundering as a critical risk to Australia.

 

What is AUSTRAC?

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) protects Australia’s financial system by acting as a national regulator and contributing their expertise in helping to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.

 

How does AUSTRAC combat money laundering?

AUSTRAC combats money laundering in two ways:

  • AUSTRAC acts as the national regulator for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML and CTF).
    • As the national regulator AUSTRAC monitors compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML and CTF Act). Should there be any breaches of the Act enforcement action is taken by AUSTRAC.
  • AUSTRAC also acts as Australia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
    • As Australia’s FIU, AUSTRAC analyses financial information and works with partner agencies and industry sectors to identify patterns of suspicious activity, by doing so they contribute to law enforcement operations.

In its capacity as Australia’s national AML and CTF regulator and as FIU, AUSTRAC has a significant role in the response to money laundering. AUSTRAC aims to enhance understanding, educate, regulate, engage with industry and detect crime.

 

Enhancing Understanding

AUSTRAC works to protect and support national security and the integrity of Australia’s financial markets by apprehending money laundering criminals and as a result maximising revenue collection.

In order to do so AUSTRAC works with its international counterpart FIUs and shares financial transaction information.  Such information on a global scale increases Australia’s ability to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. This also assists the operational work of FIUs and the law enforcement agencies which track the international movement of proceeds of crime. As a result of being involved and working with global entities AUSTRAC receives valuable financial intelligence from its international partners which assists in Australia’s own detection of unlawful transactions.

 

Educating and Regulating

AUSTRAC educates, monitors and works to improve the effectiveness of reporting entities’ compliance with the requirements of the AML/CTF Act. If there is non-compliance with these Acts by the required entities AUSTRAC takes formal action to enforce compliance. In such a fast paced climate AUSTRAC also continues to work to keep developing AML/CTF regime to ensure they are up to date with the ever changing money laundering methods and continually emerging new threats.

 

Engaging with Industry

AUSTRAC’s work is part of a whole-of-government approach which involves collaboration with other intelligence, regulatory and law enforcement agencies and, importantly, with industry and the community. Given the reach and breadth of money laundering activities, engaging with industry is essential for a strong and sustained response. By working with industry, AUSTRAC and partner agencies develop a more complete and detailed picture of the money laundering environment in Australia, including vulnerabilities and emerging threats. Sharing this knowledge enables government and industry to identify and target criminal activities.

 

Money laundering channels monitored by AUSTRAC

AUSTRAC is involved in monitoring a number of significant money laundering channels in Australia, these include:

  • The banking system
  • The gaming sector
  • Money transfer businesses and alternative remittance services
  • High purchase goods including jewellery, boats, real estate, artwork, antiques, precious metals and stones

AUSTRAC also monitors less noticeable money laundering sectors in Australia such as:

  • Professionals such as businesses, companies, partnerships and trusts
  • Legal entity structures including companies, partnerships and trusts
  • Cash intensive businesses, these are business which have high volumes of cash flow
  • Electronic payment systems and new payment methods there are generally two channels for this including,
    • ATM/electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) networks and cards;
    • Online and new payment methods
  • Investment vehicles such as shares, insurance products and superannuation funds
  • International trade
  • Cross-border movement of cash and bearer negotiable instruments

 

How can Nyman Gibson Miralis assist you?

Nyman Gibson Miralis assist companies and individuals who are the subject of investigations by AUSTRAC, the AFP, the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) for suspected money laundering activities.

We are widely recognised as being experts in transnational money laundering investigations and have been involved in advising in matters involving the USA, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Cambodia, Cyprus, Russia, New Zealand, South Korea and Europe, where there has been an Australian connection.