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Global financial intelligence experts meet in The Hague to fight terrorist and crime financing

An AUSTRAC delegation has spent the week in The Hague, Netherlands to attend the 2019 Egmont Group Plenary. The Egmont Group (Egmont) is a united body comprised of over 160 international financial intelligence units. Egmont provides a platform for the secure exchange of financial intelligence and expertise to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose PSM said the Egmont Group has seen its membership increase from 13 founding countries including Australia, to over 160 over the past 24 years.

“This commitment to global cooperation and support between financial intelligence units is critical to efforts to counter terrorism and serious crime,” Ms Rose said.

The Plenary was opened by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and the Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus. During the week Papua New Guinea’s FIU, the Financial Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU), was confirmed as one of the latest members of the Egmont Group – further increasing our region’s representation. Ms Rose warmly welcomed our close neighbours to Egmont.

“AUSTRAC has worked closely with FASU over a number of years to help build their capability and this is further demonstration of their ongoing commitment to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF). We look forward to many more years of close partnership as we continue to work together to keep our region safe,” Ms Rose said.

Head of FASU, Director Benny Popoitai, acknowledged AUSTRAC’s role in supporting PNGs commitment to strengthening their AML/CTF regime.

“AUSTRAC has worked with FASU to help strengthen our capability for several years. This confirmation of our membership into the Egmont Group provides international recognition of the success of this partnership,” Mr Popoitai said.

Ms Rose also thanked Ms Hennie Verbeek-Kusters for her excellent stewardship as Chair of the Egmont Group and welcomed the appointment of Mr Mariano Federici, President of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Argentina, as the new Egmont Chair.

The 2019 Egmont Group Plenary focussed on the theme of Public-Public partnerships, how Financial Intelligence Units can partner with other government agencies and law enforcement to combat transnational, serious and organised crime.

The Plenary provided an important opportunity to discuss money laundering and terrorism financing threats including Australia’s collaborative efforts to combat child sex exploitation, with a critical focus on stopping streamed live distance child abuse.

“Transnational, serious and organised crime transcends borders and that is why the Egmont Group has such a vital role to play in the international intelligence and law enforcement community,” Ms Rose said.

AUSTRAC representatives also presented a case study on the success of Australia’s Serious Financial Crime Taskforce in combatting international tax evasion.

About AUSTRAC

AUSTRAC uses financial intelligence and regulation to disrupt money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.

AUSTRAC’s dual regulatory and intelligence functions work hand in hand to protect Australia’s financial system.

Serious crime is motivated by profit, and no matter the size, almost all criminal acts leave a financial trail and AUSTRAC has the right tools and expertise to follow these trails.

Our regulatory function ensures we get high quality data and entities comply with their obligations. It requires the financial sector to put in place systems and controls that protect them from criminal abuse, while also reporting on financial transactions and suspicious activity.

This provides AUSTRAC’s intelligence analysts with the information they need to identify risks and develop intelligence products that support law enforcement and national security operations and investigations.

Media contact:
media@austrac.gov.au
Ph: (02) 9950 0488