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AUSTRAC CEO gives notice to a remitter to appoint external auditor

AUSTRAC has given a notice to a remittance service provider requiring that it appoint an external auditor to assess its compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Schmidt said AUSTRAC had given the notice to A2Z Communication Pty Limited (A2Z Communication) due to AUSTRAC's concerns that A2Z Communication had not adequately met its obligations under the AML/CTF Act.

'Wherever possible, AUSTRAC works with reporting entities to ensure they comply with the requirements of the AML/CTF Act,' Mr Schmidt said. 'Our preference is to assist entities to have the proper AML/CTF processes in place. But where we have serious concerns that a business has failed to properly identify, mitigate and manage its money laundering or terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks, we will take stronger action.'

A2Z Communication operates as both a mobile phone retailer and a provider of designated remittance services and is located in Rockdale, New South Wales. In the past, AUSTRAC has provided significant support to assist A2Z Communication to comply with its obligations under the AML/CTF Act.

An assessment by AUSTRAC identified reasonable grounds to form a suspicion that A2Z Communication failed to comply with a number of obligations under the Act, including the requirement to implement an AML/CTF program, which should set out how a remitter identifies, mitigates and manages the ML/TF risks that it reasonably faces through providing remittance services.

The terms of the notice, given under subsection 162(2) of the AML/CTF Act, require that A2Z Communication:

  • appoints an external auditor
  • arranges for the external auditor to conduct an audit that assesses:
    • the reporting entity's compliance with its AML/CTF obligations
    • the reporting entity's existing capacity to comply with its AML/CTF obligations
    • what the reporting entity will need to do to comply with its AML/CTF obligations
  • gives the AUSTRAC CEO a copy of the audit report.

The audit report will provide a detailed assessment of A2Z Communication's compliance with its AML/CTF obligations and assist the AUSTRAC CEO in determining whether further action is required.

Under the AML/CTF Act, the AUSTRAC CEO is empowered to give notices requiring the appointment of authorised external auditors to assess compliance with the AML/CTF Act where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there has been a contravention of the AML/CTF Act.

The notice given to A2Z Communication can be viewed on the AUSTRAC website.

A list of auditors authorised by the AUSTRAC CEO is included on the AUSTRAC website.

AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) is Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit. AUSTRAC works with law enforcement and other agencies to protect the integrity of the Australian financial system and fight serious crimes such as drug trafficking, tax evasion, fraud and people smuggling.

Media enquiries:
Telephone: +61 3 8636 0585
Email: corporatecommunications@austrac.gov.au

Last modified: 13/03/2013 00:00