First Australian conviction for unregistered remittance service
In the wake of an historic court conviction, AUSTRAC, the Government’s financial intelligence and regulatory agency, has warned that legal action will be taken against unregistered remitters who engage in deliberate and systemic breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism (AML/CTF) laws.
The first ever conviction in Australia for operating an unregistered remittance service was handed down by the County Court of Victoria as a result of investigations initiated by AUSTRAC.
The directors of Tin Vuong Pty Ltd, which operated offices out of Melbourne and Sydney, received suspended sentences of 24 and 26 months imprisonment and had over $2 million seized by authorities over the course of the investigation.
The County Court of Victoria, in its final hearing of this matter on Tuesday 9 May 2017, ordered the $2 million in proceeds of crime to be forfeited to the Commonwealth.
AUSTRAC Acting Deputy CEO Operations, Angela Jamieson, said that whilst AUSTRAC prefers to take a collaborative and engaging approach to regulation, it will not hesitate to take action against those who do not take their obligations seriously.
“The directors of this company chose to operate their remittance business illegally with very little regard to their AML/CTF obligations,” Ms Jamieson said.
“Remittance service providers in Australia are required to apply for registration with AUSTRAC and it is an offence to provide designated remittance services if an individual or business is not registered.”
“These obligations are there to protect the Australian community from criminals and terrorists groups, which is why it is vitally important that remittance service providers in Australia apply for registration with AUSTRAC.
“We encourage other unregistered remitters to come forward and engage with us early, rather than potentially face a criminal investigation.”
Ms. Jamieson added that most remitters do the right thing and there had been increased co-operation and professionalism within the sector in recent years.
Any individual wishing to provide information about potential unregistered remittance dealers or to clarify their registration obligations can contact the AUSTRAC Contact Centre.
AUSTRAC Media and Communications