AUSTRAC enhances trans-Tasman cooperation
8 July 2014
Australia has strengthened trans-Tasman cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with New Zealand.
AUSTRAC—the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre—signed the MoU with three New Zealand government agencies responsible for supervising reporting entities under New Zealand’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime.
AUSTRAC and the NZ agencies—which include the Department of Internal Affairs, the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand—agree to share administrative information such as risk modelling, regulatory strategies and assessment techniques.
It complements an existing MoU to share financial intelligence data with the NZ financial intelligence unit.
AUSTRAC now has two MoUs for sharing regulatory information, and 70 MoUs for the sharing of financial intelligence with foreign counterparts.
Following the money trail is an essential element of tracking serious and organised crime, and requires international cooperation for sharing financial intelligence.
Criminals involved in money laundering, terrorism, tax evasion, drug trafficking and other serious crimes do not respect borders, so cooperation is needed between financial intelligence units and law enforcement in a range of countries.
These memorandums are key to combating transnational crime and protecting the integrity of Australia's financial system.
In Australia, AUSTRAC regulates banks and various organisations. They are required to submit transaction reports to AUSTRAC, including reports relating to international funds transfers and suspicious transactions.
In 2012–13, almost 80 million international transfer reports were received by AUSTRAC, recording more than $3.5 trillion in transfers into and out of Australia.
This information is analysed by AUSTRAC and, where appropriate, provided to other Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies, including the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Taxation Office.