AUSTRAC's approach to international money laundering

AUSTRAC is Australia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as well as its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator.

AUSTRAC works in close collaboration with a range of partners, both domestically and internationally, to disrupt criminal networks, combat money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF), and ensure effective exchange of global financial intelligence.

 

International Programs

AUSTRAC works with its international partners in a range of ways such as through international forums, signing memoranda of understanding (MOUs), and building international capability through training programs.

In its 2017-18 annual report, AUSTRAC provides some insight into its key international programs.

 

Cook Islands Mutual Evaluation

AUSTRAC provided an assessor to support the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) mutual evaluation of the Cook Islands’ AML/CTF efforts. Mutual evaluations of this nature help to promote the integrity of international frameworks to improve AML/CTF systems.

 

FATF Training and Research Institute – WMD proliferation financing  

In October 2017, AUSTRAC co-chaired (with the US Department of Justice and FATF Training and Research Institute) a two-day session critically assessing WMD counter-proliferation financing.

Attendees comprised representatives from financial intelligence, central bank and law enforcement agencies from Pakistan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Macau, Hong Kong and China, as well as the USA and UK. Uniquely, private sector representatives from banks, casinos, academia and think tanks were also present.

 

Memoranda of Understanding

MOUs enable AUSTRAC to exchange financial intelligence and regulatory information with its overseas counterparts.

In 2017-18, AUSTRAC signed new international MOUs with the FIUs of Finland, Monaco and Afghanistan, bringing the total number of MOUs to 90. AUSTRAC also signed an MOU for the exchange of regulatory information with the People’s Bank of China.

 

Papua New Guinea – Egmont membership

The Egmont Group is a united body of 159 FIUs.  PNG is undergoing the process to become an Egmont member, with both Australia and New Zealand acting as sponsors to support the maturation of PNG’s FIU and prospects of being admitted into the Egmont Group.

 

Indonesia intelligence training

AUSTRAC provides a world-class Financial Intelligence Analyst Course (FIAC). AUSTRAC has worked together with PPATK, Indonesia’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, to customise the Australian FIAC for an Indonesian context. This will greatly benefit PPATK, as well as aiding operational collaboration between Australia and Indonesia.

 

International Technical Assistance and Training (TA&T)

AUSTRAC’s international TA&T programs are delivered to FIUs and AML/CTF regulators, achieving dual objectives of strengthening capacity and governance of recipients, as well as contributing to Australia’s whole-of-government efforts in establishing regional security and assisting developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

During 2017–18 AUSTRAC delivered TA&T programs to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

 

Papua New Guinea (PNG)

AUSTRAC formally supports the development of PNG’s FIU, Financial Intelligence and Supervision Unit (FASU), in addition to its AML/CTF regulation function.

Key recent initiatives have included:

  • Hosting workshops to support FASU in developing necessary legislative instruments to operationalise PNG’s AML/ CTF regime.
  • Mentoring FASU’s intelligence analysts
  • Conducting an Analyst Exchange Program between AUSTRAC and FASU
  • Building a comprehensive financial intelligence database
  • Leading a three-day workshop where FASU’s database was reviewed in conjunction with the Bank of Papua New Guinea’s (BPNG) IT team, identifying solutions to enhance its functionality.

 

Philippines

AUSTRAC recently delivered two Intelligence Fundamentals courses to the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), with the aim to help establish a more effective AML/CTF regime.

In March 2018, AUSTRAC co-delivered with the APG, New Zealand Internal Affairs and Philippines AMLC, a workshop to a number of Philippines agencies to help them prepare for their upcoming mutual evaluation.

In February 2018 AUSTRAC hosted visitors from the Philippines as part of a Regulatory Exchange Program, focusing on gambling and casino regulation, including online gambling.

 

Indonesia and Malaysia

A Regulatory Exchange Program, with AUSTRAC and regulators from Indonesia and Malaysia participating, provided a unique opportunity for collaboration on shared regulatory issues.

In September 2017, the final leg of the program was held in Indonesia. The program team met with entities including Western Union, a variety of FinTech offices and the Association of Money Transfer Providers.

 

International and Policy Division

AUSTRAC’s International and Policy Division consists of the Strategic Intelligence and Policy branch and the International Operations branch. The Division’s efforts help AUSTRAC to provide high-quality strategic intelligence, and meet Australia’s international obligations to combat ML/TF and weapons of mass destruction proliferation financing.

 

Strategic Intelligence and Policy Branch

Key activities:

  • Collects and analyses information from a variety of sources to provide high-quality strategic intelligence to industry and government partners
  • Produces risk assessments to help industry, and identify and manage ML/TF risks and threats
  • Works with government partners and industry to contribute to policy development and implementation, such as the reform of Australia’s AML/CTF legislative framework.

 

International Operations Branch

Key activities:

  • Analyses financial transaction and suspicious matter reports
  • Provides intelligence to domestic and international partners to assist them with operational activities
  • Works with reporting entities to ensure they have the tools and understanding to comply with their obligations under Australia’s AML/CTF framework
  • Works with international partners including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Egmont Group and APG.

 

Conclusion

By expanding its international footprint and collaborating with more international partners, AUSTRAC is better able to respond to offshore ML/TF and other serious crime impacting Australia.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provide expert defence in complex cross-border money laundering cases, often involving multiple international investigative agencies.

Contact us if you require assistance.