“AUSTRAC has done a good job in promoting compliance with the AMLCTF standards by the vast amount of entities under its supervision. … Australia should focus more on effective supervision and enforcement of individual reporting entities’ compliance with AMLCTF obligations within the various sectors.”FATF and APG (2015) Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation Report – Australia
I accept briefs to advise on the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth).
I accept instructions to provide advice nationally; electronically and directly from corporate in-house counsel. This allows me to efficiently provide you with high quality advice.
I am prepared to accept urgent instructions to assist with the formulation of a Suspicious Matter Report and exiting of customers. Please telephone 0417 921 300.
Please note: this page relates to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. Click for information about the criminal offence of money laundering.
AMLCTF risks for reporting entities
Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) such as banks and building societies, and other financial institutions (for example casinos and money changers) are subject to a range of prudential and other regulation. Navigating the nuances of these provisions is a constant challenge for in-house counsel and external legal advisers.
One such nuance is in the interaction of ss 41 and 51 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AMLCTF) Act 2006 (Cth) with the money laundering provisions found in Division 400 of the Criminal Code (Cth). I discuss it here.
AUSTRAC increasing enforcement action
AUSTRAC has been more aggressive in enforcing the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 since the release of the Financial Action Task Force report cited above. This may accelerate further in the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission. AUSTRAC’s stance has consequences for all reporting entities.
If you are the subject of an AUSTRAC investigation or enquiry it is important to get legal advice immediately. Many AMLCTF lawyers focus on compliance and management but may have limited experience in responding to AUSTRAC investigations. AUSTRAC investigations may result in prosecution or civil penalty proceedings. Penalties extend to jail for directors and staff, and even an unsuccessful prosecution can destroy a business.
I have acted for a number of reporting entities including one of Australia’s big four banks and two medium sized banks. I have also acted for a number of smaller reporting entities. My experience includes responding to AUSTRAC actions as well as criminal proceedings.
In 2016/2017 I acted for three separate reporting entities who were each separately pursued by AUSTRAC. One was prosecuted for money laundering and the charge was dismissed on my no-case to answer submission. In another, as a result of my submissions, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued all charges against my client. In the third, after receiving my submissions, AUSTRAC decided not to pursue the matter.
The District Court judgment dismissing the money laundering prosecution brought against the director of the alternative remitter is available here.
I believe I am uniquely qualified to advise on the AMLCTF Act 2006 and related matters. As a Deputy Counsel with the Australian Federal Police I was a member of the national management team of the Australian Government’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce. The taskforce:
- is a formal collaboration between the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police
- works hand in hand with AUSTRAC to identify proceeds of crime, and then takes action to freeze and/or seize and restrain proceeds of crime (ie money that by definition is capable of being ‘laundered’) either under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or taxation remedies.
I have 6 years’ experience in making rapid assessments on behalf of the Australian Government about whether given circumstances would justify a Court in finding that there was a reasonable suspicion that money is the proceeds of crime. As a delegate for 4 of those years I was responsible for deciding whether to apply to restrain (ie freeze) tainted property, and had authority to offer an undertaking as to damages on behalf of the Australian Government to secure such orders ex parte.
For more information about my experience please review my profile page.
I am available to provide advice nationally to reporting entities (either via a firm of solicitors, or a direct brief from in-house counsel) on:
- the AMLCTF Act 2006,
- the money laundering provisions in Division 400 of the Criminal Code (Cth),
- the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 and the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945, in relation to financial transactions with certain countries and politically exposed persons (PEPs), and
- related matters.
You are welcome to contact me to discuss your matter. For urgent matters, please telephone me on 0417 921 300.