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AUSTRAC has released a financial crime guide today to help businesses identify and report financial transactions that may be linked to the purchase of child sexual exploitation material.

Offenders and facilitators use technology, including social media, live streaming, and gaming platforms to facilitate child abuse, with financial gain a primary motivator. Travel is no longer necessary to access victims or child sexual exploitation material. Online financial payments enable offenders around the world to purchase this material, which enables the abuse to occur.

Today AUSTRAC released Australia’s first national proliferation financing risk assessment aimed at strengthening domestic and international efforts to combat this serious criminal activity.

Proliferation financing is when a person makes available an asset, provides a financial service or conducts a financial transaction that is intended to facilitate the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regardless of whether the activity occurs or is attempted.

Today AUSTRAC released guidance to banks and superannuation funds to support people from diverse backgrounds and in challenging circumstances access the financial services they need.

Financial institutions require customers to provide identity documents to access their services.

However, some members of the community cannot access traditional forms of documentation to prove their identity, whether due to emergency, personal circumstances, location or structural barriers.

AUSTRAC will today commence civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against SkyCity Adelaide Pty Ltd (SkyCity) for alleged serious and systemic non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.

The civil penalty proceedings come after an enforcement investigation into SkyCity, about which SkyCity was notified in June 2021. The investigation was a result of an AUSTRAC proactive, industry wide compliance campaign that began in September 2019.

AUSTRAC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against The Star Pty Limited and The Star Entertainment QLD Limited (the Star Entities) for alleged serious and systemic non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.

AUSTRAC has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) from two entities in the ING Bank Australia group (ING Bank Australia Ltd and ING Bank N.V., Sydney Branch) to uplift its compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws. ING self-identified and voluntarily reported shortcomings in relation to its compliance with its anti-money laundering obligations. The resulting regulatory inquiries, including an investigation, identified concerns in relation to AML/CTF program, monitoring systems and controls, and reporting to AUSTRAC.

AUSTRAC has partnered with Papua New Guinea’s financial intelligence agency to host the first in person conference of the Pacific Financial Intelligence Community (PFIC), bringing together financial intelligence agencies from across the region.

Held in Port Moresby over two days, the conference will be an opportunity to strengthen regional capacity to combat financial crime including money laundering.

AUSTRAC has ordered the appointment of external auditors under section 162 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) to assess compliance of two corporate bookmakers, Sportsbet Pty Ltd (Sportsbet) and Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Limited (Bet365).

The appointed external auditor will be authorised by AUSTRAC to assess Sportsbet’s and Bet365’s compliance with the AML/CTF Act and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 (No. 1) (AML/CTF Rules).

A new financial crime guide released by AUSTRAC today will help financial service providers identify and report suspicious transactions indicative of criminals engaging in trade-based money laundering.

Trade-based money laundering is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime by moving funds through trade transactions, in an attempt to legitimise their illegal origin or finance illegal activities.

AUSTRAC welcomes today’s announcement that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Griffith University have established an academy to focus on financial crime.

AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose, said that rapid movement of money underpinning criminal activity requires partnerships globally and across sectors.

“Financial crime types evolve, exploiting opportunities and gaps in borders, knowledge and cooperation,” she said.