News

EU Update – May 2020

Earlier this month the EU announced it had put forward a series of measures designed to further strengthen the EU’s framework to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. An Action Plan for a Comprehensive EU policy on Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. This comes after a turbulent few year for a few Member…

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The role of designated non-financial services businesses in laundering funds in Australia

OPINION: At the present time Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws do not apply to certain designated non-financial services businesses (DNFSBs), which is a major vulnerability against efforts to thwart financial crime. This article today has it all: a $10 million payment to buy a luxury waterfront mansion in Brisbane made by ASX-listed Horizon…

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Westpac plan for a $900M fine after AML/CTF breach

OPINION: Today Westpac indicated that it expects to suffer write-offs of $1.4bn against its first-half earnings, with $900m of this amount being what the bank expects to pay to settle its 23 million breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.  Westpac also indicated that $500m in write-offs would be for improving its compliance…

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What is the true cost of financial crime compliance?

OPINION: Earlier this week LexisNexis Risk Solutions released the results of its global True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Study which polled nearly 900 financial crime compliance decision makers and found that financial institutions spent $181 billion on financial crime compliance last year.   In Europe, financial institutions spent 3 to 4 times ($137bn) what their nearest…

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Greens pressuring the Australian government to tighten AML laws

The Australian Government has been accused of being hypocritical as Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and others have all been calling out for Westpac to be held accountable for the 23 million breaches of AML/CTF laws when they are not holding themselves to account. Anthony Quinn, CEO of Arctic Intelligence, a software business specialising in audit,…

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Poor legal advice led to AML/CTF breaches at Afterpay

In June 2019, AUSTRAC ordered Afterpay to appoint an external auditor after the agency identified concerns with Afterpay’s compliance with anti-money-laundering laws.  The final report from external independent auditor Neil Jeans was provided to AUSTRAC today. In the final report, Jeans broadly praised Afterpay’s compliance efforts and attributed the breaches to poor advice from an…

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FATF suspends Australia’s AML law evaluation

The Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) has suspended the evaluation of financial crime laws mid-way through an examination of Australia’s progress in the area. A FATF spokesman said, “In October, the FATF decided to temporarily pause the start of all scheduled follow-up assessments – this is not an Australia specific decision.”  But was there more to…

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NAB may face heavy penalties after admitting money-laundering breaches

Hot on the heels of Westpac’s announcement three weeks ago that it has provisioned hundreds of millions of dollars for additional remediation costs and a potential fine by AUSTRAC, over its failure to report “a large number” of International Funds Transfer Instructions (IFTIs) it was NABs turn to make an announcement. In its annual report…

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Property continues to be the AML weak link in Australia

Australia is still lagging behind global standards in the developed world when it comes to combating the flow of illicit money entering the property market. AUSTRAC has estimated that there were AUD$1billion worth of suspicious transactions in the Australian property market from China in the 2016 fiscal year.   The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has…

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The Solicitor Regulation Authority: One in five UK law firms fails to comply with money laundering rules

Following the discovery of law firms not complying with anti-money laundering regulations, the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) is planning to launch money laundering investigations into 7,000 law firms. Solicitor firms that fail to comply will potentially face enforcement action. In March 2019, the SRA wrote to 400 firms asking them to demonstrate compliance with the…

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