This article discusses some of the lessons from the authors' years of experience conducting independent review of AML/CTF programs, and AUSTRAC’s publication 'Insights from Compliance Assessments: Good Business Practices and Areas for Improvement' of December 2016. The AML/CTF laws require designated service providers to maintain an AML/CTF Program and undertake for regular independent review of Part A of that program (which necessarily also entails some examination of the operation of Part B (Customer due diligence).
Headlines were made when AUSTRAC brought civil proceedings against Tabcorp for breaches of the AML Act. This was the first major civil proceedings litigation brought by AUSTRAC against any reporting entity in Australia. In the approximate two years that the action lasted there was much conjecture and debate over how the matter might play out. Ultimately, a settlement was reached for Tabcorp to admit to certain breaches of the AML Act and to accept a civil penalty of AUD $45M.
As the result of the recent Statutory Review into the AML/CTF Act AUSTRAC intends to review and revise the AML/CTF Rules. This restructuring is a positive step towards making the, currently cumbersome, Rules more user friendly, and reflect the recommendations of the Statutory Review for Rules simplification.
Do you have an interest in how your profession or industry is going to be regulated under Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorist Financing regime? It would appear that Australian DNFBPs (lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, trust & company services providers, and high-value dealers) will finally be subject to AML/CTF Act obligations (or a variation). Yes, Tranche 2 is on its way.
Immunity curtailed under changes to AML Act S169. When you are providing information to AUSTRAC you might think you have immunity from prosecution under S169. Think again. This self-incrimination privilege has recently been severely curtailed.
In the recent judgment of Justice Nye Perram in the interlocutory matter AUSTRAC v Tabcorp (TAB Limited), the judge made comments which should make boards, senior management, risk and compliance teams, and AML professionals sit up and take note. The comments of most significance related to anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs, money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risk assessments, and AML program governance. The judge's comments also have relevance to record creation and record keeping obligations.
What do you do when you receive a Notice from AUSTRAC? A Notice from AUSTRAC will generally be a Section 167 Notice or a Section 202 Notice. Both are requests for information or documents. Both must be replied to but each has a different emphasis.
It is that time of year again for completing your AUSTRAC compliance report. Yes, it is a rather easy document to complete. And yes, you might consider it an irritant. However, be warned as completing the S47 Report should be taken seriously. Questions should be answered truthfully and accurately, even if that means confessing to AUSTRAC that your organisation has not fully implemented an AML Act or AML Rule obligation.