AUSTRAC demands property money laundering laws

The CEO of AUSTRAC – the Australian Government agency responsible for detecting, deterring and disrupting criminal abuse of the financial system – has warned that lawyers, accountants and real estate agents are being used to launder illicit, necessitating then need for the industry participants to be brought into the anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory net:

Austrac chief executive Nicole Rose said the decision on whether to bring lawyers, accountants and real estate agents under her agency’s regime was a “policy decision for government”…

Ms Rose said ending the loopholes for the three professions was a “complex question”.

“Certainly we are concerned about professional facilitators…

“We are concerned about those who are being unwittingly used to avoid money laundering detection, and of course are worried about those who are intentionally involved in criminal activity.

“That’s a policy decision that needs to be made by government about the level of regulation they would want to impose on those entities and weigh that up with the risks of what’s occurring.”

Fourteen years ago, the Australian Government agreed to implement the Tranche 2 global AML rules for lawyers, accountants and real estate agents in a bid to prevent laundering of illicit funds, especially into Australian property.

However, these reforms have been continually postponed amid fierce lobbying by shadowy “vested interests” negatively impacted by the reforms. This has led to Australia having the weakest AML rules in the world pertaining to lawyers, accountants and real estate agents:

Australia’s intransigence has seen a conga-line of international authorities – including the Paris-based Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) and Transparency International – deride Australia’s failure to act, which has continually fallen on deaf ears within the federal government.

Accordingly, Australia has been cemented as a money laundering safe haven, with property the go to choice for illicit foreign funds.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. Display NameMEMBER

    AUSTRAC is up a defunding and a “restructure” under our corrupt regime. Maybe parachute some hapless think tank flunky in there for a sinecure to run the place.

      • Display NameMEMBER

        Can she possibly recover from crown? Then again she admitted to being incompetent and the casino is an ML honeypot, so maybe perfect flunky to run AUSTRAC,

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Didn’t AUSTRAC get the memo: compliance by lawyers, accountants and real estate agents is never to happen in Straya. Just as there will never be a meaningful federal ICAC. Both would be unhelpful obstructions to the economy and business and enrichment of those who count in Straya.

  2. “Ms Rose said ending the loopholes for the three professions was a “complex question”.”

    Gets a lot less complex when it is criminalised and comes with jail time for the facilitators. When companies and individuals get fines 2 x their profits from each transaction, clarity is restored.

  3. You’d think there would be some support for this given what Westpac were recently found to be up to by AUSTRAC.

    Then again Matt C getting the top job at comm bank immediately after leading his area through a massive and no doubt very profitable money laundering scandal shows all Corp Australia really loves this stuff.

    Hopefully instead, the US will one day find some links to funding to some uglies in the Mid East and all this will come to a shuddering halt as some major Aussie business figure is renditioned in a helicopter with a black bag over his head to an offshore holding facility.

    • my toranaMEMBER

      Exactly, the US regulators are the ones who enforce the law. We should just pay them a stipend.

  4. I have purchased a place next door to a new australian from china. He is here on a business visa of sone sort and the wife is here and she is a grad from a uk uni but can barely speak the local lingo. Hubbie is Never at work he is always at home doing yard work

    Old mum is out here to and can speak No english at all so dont know how she is here. She has health issues and hobbles around and all good to say she has private health BUT BECAUSE OF community coverage she is not charged extra even though her health is poor and she has NEVER contributed here.

    Family of 6 all here thru dads dodgy visa all using resources but contributing very little.

    Now everything is for sale in this place….the poor old anzacs why dis they waste their time and go to war again?

  5. Top-end cars as well?
    Unit I lived in, in Auckland, had the son of a China log exporter living there, who bought a new Ferrari or McLaren etc each week or so. When I asked the block manager ‘How come?” he just said, “He gets bored with them and sells them on”. Hmmm…..

  6. Jumping jack flash

    Nice,

    So the main beneficiaries for this laundered money have had their fill, or perhaps the flow has stopped, so they’ve given the green light for the holes to be plugged?

  7. If this epic can-kick will never end then we need to tackle the problem from a different angle.

    I suggest we stop the barbarians at the States. All that is feasibly required is to:
    1. Place a positive obligation or duty upon the enablers to make reasonable enquiries as to the citizenship status, the source of funds and to determine the ultimate beneficial ownership where it is a company. – under threat of penalty on the enabler.

    2. embed a requirement such that no land title shall be conveyanced where the Australian citizenship cannot be established and /or the ultimate beneficial ownership is by a non-citizen.

    THERE, I FIXED IT

    • Vic and NSW have already privatised their Land Titles Office and more to follow no doubt- otherwise good fix