AUSTRAC accepts Enforceable Undertaking from Bank of Queensland
AUSTRAC has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking from the Bank of Queensland Limited (BoQ) to improve its compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws. The action follows a compliance inspection by AUSTRAC which identified concerns relating to the adequacy of BoQ’s AML/CTF systems and controls.
The enforceable undertaking binds BoQ to an ongoing remedial action plan to improve its AML/CTF program, which AUSTRAC will monitor to ensure it is undertaken within agreed timeframes. As part of the enforceable undertaking, BoQ will engage an external auditor who will report back to AUSTRAC.
AUSTRAC’s action coincides with separate regulatory activity by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), which has accepted a court enforceable undertaking in relation to BoQ’s risk management practices and risk culture.
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said that the two regulators had ensured the other had visibility of the progress of each of their actions against BoQ, as they worked in parallel on their separate investigations.
“The actions undertaken by AUSTRAC and APRA in relation to BoQ highlight whole of government efforts to maintain the integrity of Australia’s financial systems,” Ms Rose said.
“Businesses which do not have a strong AML/CTF program in place are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals, which is why AUSTRAC has been working with BoQ to harden their processes.
“I am pleased with BoQ’s cooperation over the past six months, and their commitment to taking remedial action to ensure they meet their obligations under the AML/CTF Act.”
Details of the enforceable undertaking are available on the AUSTRAC website.
AUSTRAC’s regulatory approach
AUSTRAC uses a range of regulatory tools and powers to ensure compliance. Interactions are tailored based on the level of risk posed by the entities we regulate and their circumstances, and range from education and collaboration, through to regulatory interventions and enforcement.
AUSTRAC enforcement powers include:
- issuing infringement notices
- issuing remedial directions, which require a reporting entity to take specified action to ensure compliance
- accepting enforceable undertakings detailing the specific actions a reporting entity will commence or cease in order to comply with the AML/CTF Act
- seeking injunctions and/or civil penalty orders in the Federal Court.
AUSTRAC does not provide public commentary on individual reporting entities’ compliance.
Details of the consequences of not complying are available on the AUSTRAC website.
AUSTRAC (the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) is the Australian Government agency responsible for detecting, deterring and disrupting criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.
Through strong regulation, and enhanced intelligence capabilities, AUSTRAC collects and analyses financial reports and information to generate financial intelligence.
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