The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit (FIU).
AUSTRAC's mission is to protect the integrity of Australia's financial system and contribute to the administration of justice through its expertise in countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
As Australia's AML/CTF regulator, AUSTRAC oversees industry's compliance with the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) and the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act).
Where AUSTRAC detects cases of serious non-compliance with the AML/CTF Act or FTR Act, it may take appropriate and measured enforcement action to secure a regulated entity's compliance.
Entities subject to the AML/CTF Act include financial services providers, bullion sellers, designated remittance service providers, the gambling industry, and other reporting entities that provide 'designated services' as outlined in section 6 of the AML/CTF Act. AUSTRAC also supervises 'cash dealers' and solicitors, as defined in the FTR Act.
AUSTRAC offers a range of education and guidance to assist industry in complying with its AML/CTF obligations. The AUSTRAC typologies and case studies report 2011 is one example of such guidance, and the case studies within this report highlight the value of industry's reporting of financial transactions and suspicious matters to AUSTRAC.
As Australia's FIU, AUSTRAC analyses the financial transaction reports submitted by industry and disseminates the financial intelligence obtained from these reports to its partner agencies to assist them in their investigations.
AUSTRAC's partner agencies include Australian Government law enforcement, national and border security, revenue, regulatory and human services agencies, as well as state and territory law enforcement and revenue agencies. AUSTRAC also works closely with its international counterparts to contribute to global AML/CTF efforts.
Because of its transnational nature, serious organised crime is recognised as a national security threat that warrants a whole-of-government response. The 2009 Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework set the direction for a coordinated and cohesive approach to combating organised crime which guides AUSTRAC's work and the efforts of many of its partner agencies 1.
As an example, the Australian Crime Commission-hosted Financial Intelligence Assessment Team (FIAT) facilitates a whole-of-government approach to financial information sharing and coordination, collaborative operational targeting and the development of strategies to respond to organised crime threats. As a member of FIAT, AUSTRAC directly contributes to law enforcement operations and provides ongoing support to its law enforcement partner agencies 2.
Launched in July 2010, the Australian Crime Commission's (ACC) Criminal Intelligence Fusion Capability builds on the successful FIAT model. AUSTRAC staff seconded to the ACC apply their expertise in analysing financial data to support operational outcomes.
The Fusion Capability maximises the use of the full range of data held across a range of government agencies and boosts the ability of law enforcement agencies to identify 'high-risk' cash flows, patterns of crime, and the individual, business and corporate structures that may be involved in serious and organised criminal enterprises in Australia and overseas 3.
A number of case studies within this report demonstrate how following the money trail is an effective way of detecting the activities of organised crime networks. The cases also highlight the value of a whole-of-government approach to combating organised crime by detailing successes achieved through AUSTRAC and law enforcement agencies working together and sharing information about criminal groups.
Industry's contribution to combating money laundering and terrorism financing
This report is designed to inform industry and the wider community about the various methods criminals use to conceal, launder or move illicit funds, and to commit financial or other crimes. It contains case studies detailing investigations and operations by AUSTRAC's partner agencies. As with previous reports in this series, AUSTRAC acknowledges the valuable contribution made by partner agencies in the preparation of this publication.
AUSTRAC also encourages future contributions from industry to assist in developing overall knowledge of AML/CTF in Australia, and to demonstrate how a robust AML/CTF framework benefits industry by assisting reporting entities to manage their own money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
2. FIAT member agencies are the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Federal Police, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, AUSTRAC, Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).