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									Media kit
An introduction to AUSTRAC
    Introduction

    The Australian Transaction Reports          In its intelligence role, AUSTRAC
    and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is            provides financial information to
    Australia’s anti-money laundering           state, territory and Australian law
    and counter-terrorism financing             enforcement, security, social justice
    (AML/CTF) regulator and specialist          and revenue agencies, and certain
    financial intelligence unit (FIU).          international counterparts.
    AUSTRAC was established under the           The intelligence provided has been
    Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988      analysed by highly qualified AUSTRAC
    (FTR Act) as a statutory authority within   personnel who use sophisticated
    the Attorney-General’s portfolio and is     tools to identify information that
    continued in existence by section 209       can assist AUSTRAC’s partner
    of the Anti-Money Laundering and            agencies to investigate and prosecute
    Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006        criminal and terrorist enterprises
    (AML/CTF Act). AUSTRAC provides advice      in Australia and overseas.
    to the Minister for Home Affairs on the
    operations of the agency, the FTR Act
    and the AML/CTF Act.
    In its regulatory role, AUSTRAC
    oversees compliance with the reporting
    requirements of the AML/CTF Act and
    the FTR Act by a wide range of financial
    services providers, the gambling industry
    and other specified reporting entities.
    AUSTRAC ensures that reporting entities
    have effective AML/CTF programs in
    operation to ensure they know who
    their customers are, and monitor those
    customers where there is a high risk of
    money laundering or terrorism financing.




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Fast facts
AUSTRAC:
• was established in 1989
• was one of the world’s first six FIUs
• is a founding member of the international Egmont Group
  of Financial Intelligence Units
• is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Group on
  Money Laundering
• celebrated its 20th anniversary on 6 February 2009.

Australia’s AML/CTF regulator
In 2007–08 AUSTRAC:
• received 17,965,373 financial transaction reports, equating
  to approximately 69,000 reports per day1
• received 29,089 suspect transaction reports (SUSTRs)2
• received 2,934,955 significant cash transaction reports3
• received 14,963,719 international funds transfer
  instruction reports
• received 36,131 cross-border movement reports
• received 1,479 bearer negotiable instrument reports.

Australia’s FIU
In 2007–08 AUSTRAC:
• provided access to information which was subsequently used
  in 2,698 operational matters
• disseminated 36,511 SUSTRs to partner agencies
• disseminated 831 financial intelligence assessments to partner
  agencies for use in their operations and investigations
• initiated 576 disseminations of AUSTRAC intelligence data to
  partner agencies
• collaborated with the Tax Office to enable the identification of
  $36 million in previously undisclosed income as part of the
  Tax Office’s offshore voluntary disclosure initiative
• contributed to Tax Office assessments of more than
  $76.7 million and more than $8.5 million of annualised
  savings for Centrelink
• signed four MOUs for the international exchange of financial
  information with the FIUs of Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico
  and Saint Kitts and Nevis, bringing the total number to 53.
1.   Financial transaction reports received by AUSTRAC increased by 14.13 per cent from 2006-07. This can be attributed
     to an increase in the number of regulated entities reporting to AUSTRAC, increased awareness of reporting obliga-
     tions, and increased financial activity within the economy.                                                          2
2.   Since the implementation of new reporting requirements on 12 December 2008, suspicious matter reports are
     submitted under the AML/CTF Act, replacing suspect transaction reports.

3.   Since the implementation of new reporting requirements on 12 December 2008, threshold transaction reports are
     submitted under the AML/CTF Act, replacing significant cash transaction reports.
    Money laundering and
    terrorism financing

    AUSTRAC’s work in combating money                                        The report reveals that money laundering
    laundering, the financing of terrorism and                               to, from, or within Australia was
    other major crime has taken on further                                   characterised by the frequent use of
    importance because of the increasingly                                   structuring transactions to avoid reporting
    international nature of organised crime                                  requirements, accounts in false names, and
    and the heightened threat of terrorism.                                  cash smuggling. It is likely that launderers
                                                                             frequently used cash and wire transfers to
    Money laundering refers to the ‘laundering’
                                                                             effect money laundering involving Australia.
    or ‘washing’ of profits from criminal
                                                                             The use of credit cards, ‘payable through’
    activities, making them appear to come from
                                                                             accounts, and other electronic payments
    legitimate sources. This is often referred to
                                                                             was not unusual, and gold, precious metals
    as turning ‘dirty’ money into ‘clean’ funds.
                                                                             and cheques were occasionally used.
    Criminals launder money so that they can
                                                                             The banking sector, casinos, the real estate
    enjoy the proceeds of their crimes.
                                                                             market and the accountancy profession
    The report The Extent of Money Laundering                                were most commonly believed to be
    in and through Australia in 200441notes                                  utilised for money laundering in Australia.
    that the cost of money laundering to the
                                                                             Launderers generally invested their proceeds
    Australian economy is variously quoted as
                                                                             of crime into real estate or other sterile
    being between $2.8 to $6.3 billion dollars,
                                                                             assets such as high-value luxury items.
    with a likely figure of $4.5 billion. The
                                                                             Money laundering has wider implications
    report also notes that the extent of money
                                                                             for the economy, including: the risk of
    laundering in and through Australia was not
                                                                             corruption to institutions and some entire
    significantly different from that in 1995,
                                                                             financial sectors, losses to the financial and
    when the last report was published.
                                                                             government sectors being recovered from
    The greatest contributor to money                                        the community in the forms of higher prices
    laundering in Australia was fraud (the                                   for their services, and misleading monetary
    proceeds of fraud were estimated at $3.16                                data changes in savings patterns.
    billion), followed by illicit drugs (the proceeds
                                                                             Terrorism financing can use assets such
    of drugs estimated at $382 million). It is
                                                                             as bank credits, travellers cheques, bank
    estimated that around 70 per cent of the
                                                                             cheques, money orders, shares, securities,
    proceeds of fraud and around 80 per cent
                                                                             bonds, drafts and letters of credit. The
    of the proceeds of drugs are laundered. The
                                                                             money involved can come from either
    profits generated tended to be invested by
                                                                             legitimate or criminal sources. The report
    criminals in real estate, gambling and luxury
                                                                             indicated that although very little is known
    goods. The need for launderers to find a safe
                                                                             about amounts of terrorism financing, the
    investment can have the effect of distorting
                                                                             economic and social consequences of a
    market prices, as the launderers may pay a
                                                                             single act of terrorism are immense.
    high price for a safe haven.




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    4. The research for the report conducted by John Walker,
       Crimes Trends Analysis, RMIT University, and John Stamp,
       AUSTRAC, was based on questionnaires and empirical data, and
       extends the findings of the 1995 report, Estimates of the extent of
       money laundering in and through Australia (Walker, 1995).
Working in
partnership–
industry
The AML/CTF Act was introduced to meet revised international               Education and guidance
standards and keep pace with criminal practices and changes in
technology. Under the AML/CTF Act, AUSTRAC’s regulatory role has           resources available via
expanded, with enhanced compliance and enforcement powers                  AUSTRAC’s website (www.
(including civil as well as criminal penalties) to ensure that Australia
remains hostile to money laundering and terrorism financing.               austrac.gov.au) include:
To ensure minimum disruption to business, implementation of
the new legislation was staggered over two years, with provisions          The AUSTRAC Annual Report
commencing between December 2006 and December 2008.                        2007-08 – a financial and
Currently, the FTR Act and the AML/CTF Act exist alongside each            operational overview of AUSTRAC’s
other. The AML/CTF Act will increasingly replace the FTR Act.              work from the past financial year
New obligations for reporting entities under the AML/CTF Act include       AUSTRAC policies, guidance notes
adopting and complying with an AML/CTF program to identify and             and Public Legal Interpretations
manage exposure to the risk of exploitation by parties engaged in
money laundering or terrorism financing. This program also includes        AUSTRAC Regulatory Guide –
having customer identification procedures which allow a business to        a practical document to assist
be reasonably satisfied its customers are who they say they are.           industry understand and meet
AUSTRAC conducts a range of industry supervision activities                obligations under the AML/CTF Act,
from tailored educational presentations to formal audits. Primary          AML/CTF Rules and FTR Act
responsibility for complying with the AML/CTF legislation rests with
industry itself. This is because the AML/CTF Act recognises that a         AUSTRAC Typologies and Case
reporting entity is best placed to assess the risk that its business       Studies Report 2008 – identifies
may be used for money laundering or terrorism financing.                   key methodologies and indicators
AUSTRAC is working with industry, providing information and                of criminal activities in operation
guidance in meeting the new legislative requirements and                   within Australia
raising awareness of the ways in which businesses could be used
for criminal purposes. AUSTRAC’s regulatory approach is to build           AUSTRAC e-learning –
relationships and work collaboratively with industry. This includes        ‘Introduction to AML/CTF’,
producing print and online educational resources such as brochures,        ‘AML/CTF programs’, ‘AML/CTF
booklets, reports and e-learning courses, covering a wide range of         reporting’ and ‘ongoing customer
AML/CTF obligations.                                                       due diligence’ courses
                                                                           Brochure series – an introduction
                                                                           to key AML/CTF obligations and
                                                                           AUSTRAC resources
                                                                           Self Assessment Questionnaire –
                                                                           a comprehensive questionnaire
                                                                           to assist reporting entities assess
                                                                           their own progress on compliance
                                                                           with the AML/CTF Act.
                                                                                                            4
    Working in partnership
    –government agencies

    AUSTRAC is constantly researching and            through contributions to law enforcement
    implementing new strategies to improve           investigations and in the Australian Taxation
    the quality and effectiveness of its financial   Office making assessments for more than
    intelligence. AUSTRAC collects, compiles,        $76.7 million.
    analyses and disseminates financial
                                                     AUSTRAC’s international commitment
    intelligence, using various sophisticated
                                                     is reflected in its participation within
    analytical tools such as geo-coding and
                                                     international forums and organisations,
    text mining, in addition to monitoring the
                                                     in addition to working with counterpart
    changing nature of money laundering and
                                                     FIUs worldwide. Exchanging financial
    terrorism financing.
                                                     information with overseas FIUs enables
                                                     AUSTRAC to make an integral contribution
    AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence                 to a global environment hostile to money
    assists partner agencies in the                  laundering, major crime and the financing
    investigation and prosecution of                 of terrorism. AUSTRAC also provides
                                                     technical assistance and training in
    serious criminal activity, including             particular to FIUs in the Asia Pacific
    organised crime, terrorism and                   region, assisting them in developing their
    tax evasion.                                     own AML/CTF programs. Sharing information
                                                     with other FIUs also enables AUSTRAC to
    AUSTRAC provides its financial                   further facilitate the development and
    intelligence to 34 Australian law                maintenance of money laundering and
    enforcement, national security, revenue,         terrorism financing typologies.
    regulatory and social justice partner
    agencies. AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence
    assists its partner agencies in the
    investigation and prosecution of serious
    criminal activity, including organised
    crime, terrorism and tax evasion.
    In 2007-08, AUSTRAC provided intelligence
    to partner agencies which was used in more
    than 2,698 operational matters during
    the year, including at the Australian Crime
    Commission and in the high profile Operation
    Wickenby investigation. The value that
    AUSTRAC contributes to its partner agencies
    can be seen in a range of prosecutions,




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Information for journalists
Journalists representing print media, radio and television, or
producing commissioned articles, should contact the Corporate
Communications team:

Phone (03) 8636 0553
Mobile 0418 103 107
Email corporatecommunications@austrac.gov.au

Requests for comment or interviews
Phone (03) 8636 0553 or email
corporatecommunications@austrac.gov.au and provide:
• your contact details
• the media outlet you represent
• details of the request
• an outline of intended questions
• name of the interviewer
• where the content is likely to be published or broadcast
• the anticipated deadline.
A member of the Corporate Communications team will respond
as quickly as possible. AUSTRAC’s media policy is to answer
enquiries as accurately, thoroughly and promptly as possible.
However, legal, policy or operational constraints may prevent    6
some requests from being met.

								
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