AUSTRAC cements partnership with United Kingdom to intensify fight against financial crime

AUSTRAC has deepened ties with the United Kingdom (UK) this week, signing Memoranda of Understanding on back to back days with two British regulators, in a clear signal of Australia’s ongoing commitment to fight money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was signed on 16 February 2023 in London, by AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose and FCA CEO Nikhil Rathi.

The agreement will enable the two agencies to enhance engagement on regulatory issues, including exchanging regulatory information, and improving shared understanding of emerging trends, risks, and the compliance of businesses that operate in both the UK and Australia.

Today, AUSTRAC also entered into an MOU with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with the signing taking place between AUSTRAC’s CEO and Simon York, Director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC.

The MOU will generate opportunities through the exchange of regulatory information to strengthen operational collaboration between the two agencies, and significantly, could result in joint anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing supervision.

Strong risk-based supervision is critical to ensuring the effective implementation by industry of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing controls. These MOUs will support improved supervisory practices and tools, and facilitate enhanced monitoring of businesses operating across both jurisdictions.

Ms Rose said the signing of the MOUs with British regulators was a clear illustration of Australia and the UK’s commitment to working together to combat the global threat of money laundering, which enables a range of serious crimes.

“In our interconnected global environment, criminal and national security threats transcend borders, which is why AUSTRAC is committed to working with international partners to exchange information and pool resources to combat financial crime”.

“Money laundering enables a range of serious crimes to occur, from drug and human trafficking, to terrorism financing. The signing of these two MOUs cements Australia’s long standing commitment to working with valued partners, like FCA and HMRC, to drive behavioural change and uplift capability across industry to create a hostile financial environment for organised crime.”

Simon York, Director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “This MOU will help our countries share information and intelligence in our joint fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, building on our already successful working relationship.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Australian government, using this MOU to better understand businesses that work across our two nations and better protecting our countries from serious and organised crime.”

As Australia’s financial regulator and intelligence agency, AUSTRAC has the dual function of supervising regulated businesses, and producing financial intelligence to share with partner agencies – domestic and international – to keep Australia’s community and financial systems safe from serious organised crime.

The MOUs with FCA and HMRC follow the signing of AUSTRAC's MOU with Great Britain Gambling Commission in January 2020 and complement the financial intelligence-focused MOU with the UK National Crime Agency.

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