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5 March 2014 - Tighter laws to capture spoils of criminal activities

Minister for Justice

Tighter laws to capture spoils of criminal activities

5 March 2014

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan has introduced amendments in Parliament today that will tighten laws used to pursue the spoils of criminal activities.

“The Government is committed to ensuring our nation is safe and secure, and has moved swiftly to take tough steps to strike at the heart of organised crime,” Mr Keenan said.

“Unexplained wealth laws turn the tables on criminals who live off the benefits of their illegal activities and these amendments will ensure our law enforcement agencies are better placed to attack the profits of criminal syndicates.”

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Unexplained Wealth and Other Measures) Bill 2014 meets a key Coalition election commitment to adopt recommendations for reform by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement, ensuring the Commonwealth has the toughest framework possible to target criminal proceeds.

“While some of these recommendations have been implemented, there are a number outstanding. We're seeking to rectify this as part of our commitment to strengthen unexplained wealth laws,” Mr Keenan said.

Today's amendments:

  • ensure that in all circumstances Federal law enforcement is able to seize relevant material such as bank statements, financial records and payslips as evidence in ascertaining the total wealth of the suspect, and what income is legitimate or dirty;
  • ensure that unexplained wealth proceedings will not be stalled by a suspect simply because they fail to turn up to court;
  • expand the circumstances in which Federal law enforcement is able to share information obtained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 with appropriate state, territory and foreign authorities; and
  • introduce a new process to lock down dirty money and asset s so a suspect can’t hide, spend or offload what the Commonwealth can confiscate.

“Taking the profit out of crime undermines the entire business model of criminal groups and prevents illicit funds being reinvested to support further criminal activity,” Mr Keenan said.

“The Coalition Government knows serious and organised crime poses a significant threat to Australian communities and we are continuing to pursue a national scheme with our state and territory colleagues to crackdown on criminals flaunting illegitimate wealth.”