Do Australian law firms face money laundering risks? Of course.

New Zealand lawyers face AML obligations from 1 July 2018, accountants later in the year. Perhaps there Australian colleagues will over the next decade.

I was fortunate enough to be on the speaking panel for the Thompson Reuters AML Conference last week in Auckland. Over 70 lawyers, accountants, and other interested people attend this conference to hear from the New Zealand Police FIU, the Department of Internal Affairs (the supervisor), and several AML subject matter experts.


AUSTRAC v CBA – Now for the Defence

AUSTRAC v CBA is again major news. This time it is CBA’s Defence to the AUSTRAC Statement of Claim

In this session we will explore CBA’s Defence and how it might impact AML/CTF Programs.

We might even stray into the Amended Statement of Claim.

As ever, we won’t be commenting on the merits of the claim or any defence, only the allegations as they pertain to alleged breaches of the AML/CTF Act, especially aorund AML/CTF Programs.

Paddy Oliver, Managing Director, AML Experts (and a lawyer) will lead the discussions.

Tickets are free.

Bring your own lunch.


Why did TABCORP Really Get Fined AUD$45M?

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.


AML Rules – AUSTRAC Consultation to Amend AML Rules

AML Rules – AUSTRAC Consultation to Amend AML Rules 

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.

The consultation period ends on 28th December 2016.



What and Why?

The following is taken from explanatory note for consultation – proposed AML/CTF Rules amendments resulting from the Review of the AML/CTF Act 

“AUSTRAC will be undertaking a staged approach to implementing recommendations from the Review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and Associated Rules and Regulations (the Review) which are relevant to the AML/CTF Rules.

AUSTRAC seeks stakeholder views on the proposed approach as outlined below:

  • • Restructure of the AML/CTF Rules Compilation
  • • Progress deregulatory recommendations relevant to the AML/CTF Rules

This proposed implementation will be undertaken concurrently with the consultation on the Review currently underway by the Attorney-General’s Department.

If there is stakeholder support for the proposed approach, further consultation will take place as each item is developed.

Restructure of the current AML/CTF Rules Compilation

It is proposed that the current AML/CTF Rules Compilation should be restructured without undertaking substantive change to its content and existing obligations, in order to make the document more user-friendly.

An outline is attached.

The restructure will form a basis for the substantive simplification of the AML/CTF Rules which will commence in 2017 in consultation with stakeholders.

The restructure will include:

  • • Retitling the Compilation
  • • Grouping like chapters together, for example, all the exemption chapters
  • • Removing redundant and repetitive text without altering the current substantive text and obligations
  • • Removal of redundant chapters
  • • Clarifying and simplifying existing Chapter titles, while providing titles for those chapters which are not titled, for example, Chapter 4
  • • Providing simplified outlines for some chapters to aid stakeholders in understanding their obligations

Deregulatory Recommendations relevant to AML/CTF Rules

Concurrently with the restructure, it is proposed that those Review recommendations relating to the AML/CTF Rules which are deregulatory will be developed and finalised before substantive simplification is undertaken.

An indicative list is attached.

The listed amendments are considered suitable for development as they are not dependent on changes being made to the AML/CTF Act.

AUSTRAC seeks stakeholder input on the list of deregulatory amendments to the AML/CTF Rules, in particular, whether the list should be expanded or reduced. 

Customer Due Diligence
Rec 5.2: The AML Rules for CDD should be rationalised and simplified as a priority. Chapters 4, 15 and 30.
Rec 5.3: AUSTRAC should consider other reliable options as alternatives to minimum know your customer requirements for individuals. Chapter 4
Rec 5.4: Rationalise safe harbour and simplified verification procedures. Chapter 4
Rec 5.5: Expand simplified CDD to low risk entities. Chapter 4
Rec 5.6: Permit self-attestation to identify customers in certain circumstances. Chapters 4 and 30.
Rec 5.7: Permit entities to accept certified disclosure certificates. Chapters 4 and 30
Rec 5.12: Expand ability of entities to use third party customer ID under certain conditions. Chapters 4, 8 and 9
AML/CTF Programs
Rec 7.3: Incorporate AUSTRAC information on high ML/TF risk, clarify the role of a Compliance Officer, guarantee the independence of an AML/CTF program reviewer and require reporting entities to manage ML/TF risk posed by new technologies. Chapters 6, 8, 9, 15.
Rec 7.5: Replace designated business groups. Chapters 2, 7, 9, 50.
Rec 19.2: Amend definitions in the Rules. Chapters 1, 21 and 36.
aml/ctf obligations tranche 2

AML/CTF Obligations – Tranche 2 – Consultation Paper

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.



AUSTRAC v Tabcorp: What can we learn to date?

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.


Stay on the straight and narrow. A reminder that your reports are due.

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.