August was a busy month for the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), with sit-down meetings with reporting entities affected by the Cash Limit legislation to take effect next January, the co-hosting of the 22nd Annual Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the announcement of its renewed focus on illegal money transfer dealers.
Indeed, more than once this year, the financial intelligence agency has said it would be working on creating more efficient and comprehensive communication with reporting entities.
The Asia Pacific Group money laundering event involved 520 delegates from 41 different jurisdictions. In her plenary statement, AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose emphasised the importance of cooperation.
“It’s so important that we have regional cooperation on this issue. In Australia, we know that 70 per cent of our serious and organised crime targets have international links. While we do a great job here in Australia at detecting, tracking and disrupting financial crime, to effectively combat transnational criminal networks we need to collaborate with our regional intelligence and law enforcement partners,” Rose said.
Last week, the financial intelligence unit pointed its finger at illegal money transfers. According to an official statement from the regulator, for the 2018 and 2019 period, $60 billion changed hands in transactions or transfers; in that same period, 17. 3 million of those transactions were reported to Austrac from the registered remittance sector.
To mitigate the problem, the regulator plans to host a ‘roadshow’ to educate the money transfer service as part of an education campaign that will take place in Australian capital cities between September and November. The roadshow will focus on the risks posed by illegal money transfer dealers.
According to the regulator:
There are large penalties for businesses who fail to register with AUSTRAC, including fines of up to $420,000, seven years’ jail, or both.