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AUSTRAC gives first written notices to appoint external auditor

AUSTRAC has given its first written notices to reporting entities requiring the appointment of an external auditor under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Schmidt today announced he has given notices to seven reporting entities in the Thomas Hotels group.

Mr Schmidt said: 'I gave these notices because I suspected that these providers of gambling services had contravened, and were continuing to contravene, a number of important obligations under the AML/CTF Act. These obligations included the requirement to adopt and maintain an AML/CTF program, submit compliance reports within the lodgement period and carry out customer identification procedures.'

An assessment by AUSTRAC staff of Argos Investments Pty Ltd, a member of the Thomas Hotels group, revealed a number of deficiencies and breaches of Australia's AML/CTF laws. The AUSTRAC CEO was satisfied that these deficiencies and breaches extended to the other reporting entities within the group.

The terms of the notices require the seven reporting entities in the Thomas Hotels group to:

  • appoint an external auditor
  • arrange 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
  • give to the AUSTRAC CEO a copy of the audit report.

The audit report will provide a detailed assessment of the Thomas Hotels group's compliance with its AML/CTF obligations and inform the AUSTRAC CEO whether further action is required.

'The gambling sector is vulnerable to the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing activity. However, this risk can be managed and mitigated by having in place appropriate AML/CTF programs and controls', Mr Schmidt said.

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:
Ismene Kongos
Telephone: 03 8636 0577
Email: corporatecommunications@austrac.gov.au

Last modified: 12/03/2013 00:00