AUSTRAC Investigations

Have you received a letter from AUSTRAC?

Receiving a letter from AUSTRAC can be daunting. Even if you've done nothing wrong, how you respond to a request from AUSTRAC can be the difference between potential criminal prosecution or closing the matter. That’s why it's important to understand your rights and get quality advice upfront. With AML experts on your side, you’re in good hands.

Do you know what you must provide to AUSTRAC?

Under the AML/CTF laws and regulation, reporting entities must provide AUSTRAC with specific reports and information regularly. The type of information you may need to provide AUSTRAC includes:

  • Suspicious Matter Reports (SMRs) - These must be completed when you suspect a transaction may be related to an offence, tax evasion or be the proceeds of crime.
  • Threshold Transaction Reports (TTRs) - If your business provides a service that involves transferring currency or e-currency of $10,000 or more this report must be completed.
  • International Funds Transfer Instructions (IFTIs) - This must be completed if your business sends or receives a funds transfer instruction to or from a foreign country.

These reports must be provided to AUSTRAC within specific time frames and in particular formats. If you do not complete these correctly, AUSTRAC may investigate your business or penalise you.

We can help you set up your reporting processes and prepare your reports so that they meet AUSTRAC’s exacting requirements.

When can AUSTRAC investigate your business?

There are several different ways that AUSTRAC can investigate your business or request information. AUSTRAC can:

  • Send you a Section 202 or Section 167 Notice - These are requests asking for you to provide AUSTRAC with information or specific documents. If you ignore a notice or do not respond to it you may face criminal penalties. How you respond may impact the level of investigation that AUSTRAC undertakes.
  • Request more information about a report - If you have submitted a TTR, IFTI or SMR, AUSTRAC may ask you questions about the report or request further information. This usually happens if AUSTRAC suspects your business has not complied with the law or that you are not reporting properly.
  • Conduct an AUSTRAC Compliance Assessment - From time to time, AUSTRAC may review businesses in particular industries, categories or themes. These can be quite time-consuming to manage and resolve. This is why it's important to have an expert helping you throughout a review.
  • Implement an Enforcement Action or Enforceable Undertaking - AUSTRAC has broad powers if they believe your business has not complied with the law. These include:
    • Requiring you to make changes to your operations, processes and/or policies.
    • Suspending your business operations.
    • Imposing civil penalties.
    • Bringing a criminal prosecution.

To achieve a sustainable and effective outcome, it's important to have good advisors by your side. We work closely with clients to guide them through the process and help them mitigate their risks and respond to AUSTRAC appropriately.

AML Experts is on your side

If you receive a notice from AUSTRAC, are subject to a compliance assessment or receive an enforcement action we can:

  • Help you understand what AUSTRAC is looking for and what you must give them (and what you don't have to).
  • Act on your behalf. As members of our team are also Australian Legal Practitioners, speaking to them will not breach the terms of the notice or be deemed a criminal offence.
  • Give you expert advice on how to respond. As some of our experts are Australian Legal Practitioners this advice may be protected by Legal Professional Privilege. This means you may not have to provide these documents to AUSTRAC or to a Court.
  • Draft a detailed response on your behalf.
  • Represent you when negotiating with AUSTRAC.

We know how serious and overwhelming AUSTRAC investigations can be. That’s why we take time, care and diligence to help our clients achieve the best result possible. When AUSTRAC comes knocking, having the right people by your side can make all the difference.

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