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Illicit Tobacco Taskforce tackles the illicit tobacco trade

27 September 2021

The Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) is an Australian Border Force (ABF)-led multiagency taskforce established in 2018. The ITTF is focused on investigating, prosecuting, and dismantling international organised crime groups who use the proceeds of illicit tobacco to fund criminal activities.

The ITTF combines the operational, investigative and intelligence capabilities of the ABF, AUSTRAC, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Home Affairs, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The manufacture, sale and distribution of illicit tobacco affects the Australian community by undermining Australian Government health initiatives, damaging small businesses, defrauding the Commonwealth of significant revenue and funding serious and organised crime, including terrorism and human trafficking. 

Since its establishment in 2018, the ITTF has achieved significant outcomes relating to the disruption and deterrence of imported and domestically grown illicit tobacco.

The ITTF continues to work collaboratively to ensure that the illicit tobacco trade is disrupted to stop criminals from robbing the Australian community of valuable revenue, which could have been used to fund vital community services.

How does AUSTRAC work as part of the ITTF?

Dedicated AUSTRAC analysts provide financial intelligence and network analysis to the ITTF. Our analysts use AUSTRAC’s extensive data holdings and other intelligence to identify the criminal syndicates’ complex financial networks.

The collaboration between AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance and industry partners has improved the ITTF’s understanding of the illicit tobacco payment methods criminals use. It has also assisted with identifying criminal associates, their assets, and confiscating the proceeds of crime.

How can you help?

If you identify indicators of potential activity involving illicit tobacco, please submit accurate and timely suspicious matter reports to AUSTRAC.

AUSTRAC and our law enforcement partners use financial intelligence from your reporting to track down and stop criminals.

Read more about the ITTF on the ABF’s website.