Australia shamed again on property money laundering

The Australian Banking Association and the Greens are calling on the federal government to tighten anti-money laundering laws. The Paris-based Financial Action Taskforce has complained for some time that Australia’s anti-money laundering laws do not require real estate agents, accountants and lawyers to report suspicious transactions; it is expected to repeat these complaints when it issues its latest report before the end of 2019. AUSTRAC has estimated that there were $1 billion worth of in suspicious transactions in the Australian property market from China in the 2016 fiscal year. From The AFR:

The Financial Action Taskforce, which sits under the G7 major world economies, is due to release its latest report before Christmas and those who have seen an early draft say it will make for uncomfortable reading in Canberra. “We’re going to get another kicking,” said one person familiar with the process…

It is understood the government is due to receive a submission from the Department of Home Affairs by Christmas, which would outline options to toughen Australia’s anti-money laundering regime…

“The exemption for lawyers, accountants and real estate agents is a gaping hole in Australia’s anti-money laundering laws,” said Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. “We’ve had 13 years of inaction, from both Liberal and Labor governments, on the fabled Tranche II”…

“In particular, investors are using real estate as a safe haven and to clean up money coming out of China,” he said…

“The ABA recommends progressing the Tranche II reforms as a priority. It is vital that Australia closes the current gaps in the Australian money laundering/terrorism financing regime,” its submission said.

The funniest part above is the statement that “the government is due to receive a submission from the Department of Home Affairs by Christmas, which would outline options to toughen Australia’s anti-money laundering regime”.

The federal government conducted similar consultations on the anti-money laundering second tranche in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017 – all of which failed to deliver legislation as promised. And now the government appears to be stonewalling once again.

The whole situation is a complete farce, with the federal government complicit in the dirty money washing through Australia’s homes.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. Dream on – the government will never stop this dirty money. Dirty money keeps house prices high, and that’s what everyone wants and why they elected ScoMo and Gladys Liu.

    “If you are money laundering, that’s not the case. The objective is to move as much cash, as fast as possible. This often involves large assets, and the bigger the price – the better. Especially if there’s a recurring payment component. Both the seller and the money laundering buyer want the highest acceptable price”

    https://betterdwelling.com/how-a-little-money-laundering-can-have-a-big-impact-on-real-estate-prices/

  2. Even StevenMEMBER

    I don’t think there is much clearer indication of the corruption within government than this.

    • It also is indicative of the corruption that has taken hold of Australia as a whole. It’s far from just the government profiting, it is mum and dad speculators too. But it’s all good. Who cares if everyone gets rich?

  3. “Australia ashamed again” – LOL – really? Who is ashamed? Our Gov does not give a you know what, our speculators feel same, MSM does not even bother to report this (not in a way it deserves) so MSM plays along, Banks, RE agents, lawyers are making a killing and Fed Police is clueless or powerless or both.
    No one is ashamed but there are few of us that are angry.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      +1 Try very, very angry – a conga line of federal governments and federal politicians of all persuasions have basically waved through money laundering on a grand scale over many many years and now the government and current crop of politicians are trying to shove the cash ban legislation upon us which in terms of money laundering appears to be a blip relatively? The hypocrisy is breathtaking but par for the course?

  4. When you’re a politician, a little embarrassment over being humiliated on the world stage matters little compared to trousering lots of cash from foreign money launderers.

    The really amazing thing is that the ABA is calling for changes.

    • I have often wondered by the Chinese (I mean the man controlling the joint in Beijing) have not used this against us in order to leverage Canberra so they can something they want.
      But then I think they are getting everything they want,

    • “The really amazing thing is that the ABA is calling for changes.”
      Not really, its payback for the Royal Commission, the Bankers were caught doing something wrong and now its their turn to return the favor and blowing the whistle on the Government and their grubby policies.
      – No honor amongst thieves.

    • Bad debts on the way up due over commit loans, banks can’t be conservative due to competition, they are in a rock and hard place. The government willndo anything to keep financial assets stay high to protect baby boomers wealth in their retirement so to reduce their dependence on pensions.

  5. As an AML professional I can only profess how frustrated the other professionals within the industry (as well as law enforcement) are that TrancheTooHard laws haven’t been passed. What is the point of the significant identification or transaction monitoring checks which occur when the government knowingly endorses significant ML through the even bigger back door via property/accountants/lawyers.
    We have been fighting this fight against organized crime while blindfolded and with our hands tied behind our back. With no explanation. And no urgency. Meanwhile human traffickers, drug/weapons syndicates, major tax evaders etc get to avoid detection and benefit at the expense of greater society. Straya.

    • There is nothing to stop the State and Federal police commissioners and other high level mardarins from the ATO publicly calling for Tranche 2 to be implemented. They do media appearances calling on the politicians to pass new anti drug laws and things like tougher regulation on laser pointers, e-scooters etc.

  6. I guess this means The Greens are the only party who aren’t getting corrupt kickbacks from the money launderers then.