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AUSTRAC the Last 12 Months

Monday 15 March 2021

March 2020

In the early stages of the pandemic, exposed suspicious matter reporting(SMR) has created a brave new world for the reporting entities trying to meet their obligations during the pandemic that has an impact on some of the traditional onboarding processes.   the regulator identified some key areas that would be more vulnerable during the pandemic period.  

  • Targeting of government assistance programs through fraudulent applications and phishing scams.
  • Movement of large amounts of cash following the purchase or sale of illegal or stockpiled goods.
  • Out of character purchases of precious metals and gold bullion
  • The exploitation of workers or trafficking of vulnerable persons in the community.
  • An increase in the risk of online child exploitation following restrictions on travel.
  • A rise in extremist views either against members of the community or the government.·     

28 May 2020
there was a rule to assist families fleeing domestic violence so that they can gain financial independence. 
24 August 2020
Austrac provided new the resource to reporting entities to help them to the assess their ML/TF risks in their organisation. 
9 September 2020

the Egmont Group of the financial intelligence units including Austrac, the United Kingdom Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and Philippines Anti Money laundering Council have published a report that should make it easier to catch criminals that are streaming child sexual abuse materials. 
16 September 2020

The  regulator sent infringement notices to State Super

24 September 2020
There was the official message from Austrac and the proposed settlement with Westpac. 

8 October 2020

Austrac released a new financial crime guide to combat Australian wildlife trafficking. 

 17 September 2020
Saw the extension of the Rule for streamlining the customer verification for the early release of superannuation.
  21 October 2020
Federal court ordered Westpac to pay a $112.3 billion penalty.

2 November 2020

Austrac signed an MOU with the United Arab Emirates Financial Intelligence Unit. 

18 November 2020

Austrac announced that two men had been charged on international money laundering operation this comes from the search warrants t executed in the Cronulla and Kirrawee. Authorities have seized $170000, 64 kg silver bullion worth $55000 and two ounces of the gold bullion estimated at $5000. 
 1 December 2020
The financial intelligence agency got a got the Christmas present from the federal government funding boost the $104 million and 67 new staff for the period of the the2020-2021.
Austrac reminded the reporting entities to get their compliance report. the actual deadline is just around the corner. In the GRC Professional Podcast in 2020, Andrew Ham from Lawyers anon Demand has Reminded entities that the process they go through answer questions are critical since the regulator could use the entities answers and compare it to their actual practice, particularly if there is a breach or an incident.  ‘
As an early Christmas present on 1 December 2020 the Austrac, provided a new guide and resources to help reporting entities report a financial crime. This comes months after the announced Westpac settlement and the announced investigation into Crown Casino. 
Austrac also launched insights on assessing ML/TF risk of new products of the remittance services. The remittance services have been a special focus of the financial intelligence unit to help them understand and meet the AML/CTF obligations.
8 December 2020
Austrac released the a new financial crime guide will focus on the National Disability Insurance Industry (NDIS). This is yet another report that has been developed through the Fintel Alliance. 
 11 December 2020
Near the end of last year the regulator published a risk assessment on junket tour operators looking at vulnerability to the ML/TF Risks. The assessment that the main threat to JTO is money laundering.  Austrac CEO Rose said in a statement said in an official statement last December:
"The information contained in this risk assessment shows that junkets are highly vulnerable to criminal misuse and Australian casinos must do more to mitigate ML/TF risks. I urge casinos to take prompt action by assessing their levels of risk posed by junket operations, strengthening their controls, and reporting suspicious activity to AUSTRAC."

Austrac CEO Nicole Rose
1 December 
At the end of 2020, the AUSTRAC highlighted the Serious Financial Crime taskforce (SFTF) being led by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which was established in 2015, has been continuing its work in cybercrime and tax evasion.  This particularly key since the cybercrime scams were particularly highlighted by the Austrac during the AML & Financial Crime Congress 2020

6 January 2021
The financial intelligence unit placed the trade-based money laundering firmly in the crosshairs. On 6 January, the financial intelligence unit stressed the importance of collaboration to tackle increasing 'sophisticated' methods that criminals have been using to laundering criminal proceeds.  the importance of collaboration was stressed in a report published by the Fintel Alliance. 
27 January, 2021

Consultation for the Tranche 1.5. In the release, the financial intelligence unit said that this amendment to the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation would serve to strengthen the existing laws.