In undertaking its intelligence functions, much of the work of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has an international context, reflecting the fact that most serious and organised crime transcends borders.
In its 2017-18 annual report, the ACIC outlines key recent initiatives with a global focus including international deployments, involvement with the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group and the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement.
Deploying staff to international partner agencies is a key component of the ACIC’s focus on transnational crime impacting Australia.
Throughout 2017-18, 52 ACIC staff were deployed to 15 international locations, including long-term deployments to the:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – U.S.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – U.S.
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Canada
- National Crime Agency – U.K.
- Europol – the Netherlands
International deployments allow the ACIC to work with international partners to identify and disrupt organised crime groups. These deployments also allow ACIC agents to develop relationships with additional law enforcement agencies operating in the host country, outside of the host agency itself.
In its annual report, the ACIC outlines recent results achieved through international deployments in a number of key areas including illicit substances, threats and cybercrime.
- Improved understanding of methods used to import illegal drugs into Australia via couriers on international flights
- Collection and analysis of intelligence leading to the seizure of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine from a yacht in the South Pacific
- Generation of new targeting opportunities, including a referral from the DEA
- Identification of Thai syndicate members, networks and methodologies in relation to money laundering activities connected to the importation of narcotics into Australia
- Dissemination of a joint ACIC, AFP and Royal Canadian Mounted Police report on the Australia-Canada serious and organised crime nexus
- Working with the DEA to improve the ACIC’s transnational investigative capability and combat threats impacting Australia
- Identification of emerging Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OMCGs) posing a threat to Australia
- Increased collaboration on firearms intelligence
- Supporting Five Eyes partners regarding offshore money laundering syndicate controllers
- Identification of international cybercriminals targeting Australia
- Joint operational activity targeting cybercriminals, drug traffickers and money launderers
- Information sharing with Europol to support active investigations of the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce
- Working with the FBI to retrieve data shared between cybercriminals
- Identifying the parties responsible for a malware campaign against Australia
In addition to deploying staff internationally, the ACIC is also able to strengthen its international relationships through integration of staff from international partner agencies in ACIC teams.
Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group
The Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG) is an international coalition of law enforcement agencies from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. The ACIC is actively involved in the FELEG and participates in its associated groups including the criminal intelligence advisory group and the cybercrime, money laundering, technical and other working groups.
The ACIC contributes to the FELEG in a number of important ways, including:
- Helping to identify new international controller networks
- Developing joint operational strategies to disrupt international money laundering organisations
- Supporting the work of Five Eyes partners through international deployments and information sharing
Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement
In 2018, the ACIC joined the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement alliance, known as the J5. The alliance brings together tax enforcement agencies from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia. The ACIC and the Australian Taxation Office represent Australia’s interests in the group.
The J5 also collaborates with the OECD, as well as other countries and organisations where appropriate, in the fight against tax crime and money laundering.
The alliance will build international enforcement capacity by sharing information and intelligence, enhancing operational capability through innovative new approaches, and conducting joint operations to bring perpetrators of international tax crime to account.
As outlined in the ACIC annual report, the J5 is focused on three global tax initiatives:
- Cybercrime and virtual currencies
- Enablers of offshore tax crime
- Data platforms – specialist intelligence collection and analysis capabilities
The J5 focuses on identifying criminal wealth to support confiscation, and a greater understanding of the process of money laundering and related financial crimes.
The ACIC has a strong international focus, collaborating with a range of national and international partners through international deployments and innovative global law enforcement alliances. Effective international cooperation allows the ACIC and its partners to identify and disrupt international organised crime including drug crime, cybercrime, money laundering, financial and other types of cross-border serious and organised crime.