AUSTRAC 2016-17 annual report released
The Federal Government’s financial intelligence and regulatory agency, AUSTRAC, has reported some record outcomes in its latest Annual Report 2016-17, just released.
The agency conducted 3,255 financial intelligence exchanges with international financial intelligence units (FIUs)—a significant increase of 89% from 2015-16.
AUSTRAC’s Acting CEO, Peter Clark, said that the agency’s work with international partners was a steadily growing facet of fighting serious financial crime and terrorism threats within Australia and the agency would continue to work closely with FIUs in other countries.
In addition, AUSTRAC’s first-ever civil court proceeding—against Tabcorp—resulted in the highest civil penalty ordered in Australian corporate history of $45 million, cementing its place as a regulator willing to take action against serious breaches of anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing laws.
Mr Clark said that while strong regulatory action is required at times, our view remains that Australians are best protected from the harms of financial crime when we collaborate with industry.
“As part of our growing collaborative approach, Fintel Alliance—a world-first public-private partnership to combat serious financial crime—was launched by the Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism in March 2017,” Mr Clark said.
“We also worked closely with industry partners to develop sectoral risk assessments. The superannuation sector assessment, released in October 2016, has led to a 78 per cent increase in suspicious matters reported by that sector.”
AUSTRAC has also continued to support industry by reducing annual regulatory costs by $36 million. The agency also works closely with law enforcement and other Australian Government partners.
AUSTRAC intelligence supported significant outcomes over the past year by the Serious Financial Crime Task Force (SFCT). In 2016-17, the SFCT raised $258.86 million in tax liabilities with $126.1 million recouped by the Australian Taxation Office.
In addition, AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence contributed to protecting Australian Government revenue of $116 million in income tax assessments (2,518 cases). This brings AUSTRAC’s total contribution to tax assessments raised to nearly $2.7 billion over the past 10 years.
“AUSTRAC’s intelligence is a national asset and remains critical to our law enforcement, national security and revenue partners,” Mr Clark said.
“Our intelligence and compliance capabilities support national criminal investigations and help disrupt drug importations and restrain proceeds of crime. Our intelligence also supports domestic and international counter-terrorism investigations.
“Our achievements are the product of our partnerships, but more importantly, our people. It has been the willingness of AUSTRAC to embrace change and commit to excellence that has seen us go from strength to strength.”
AUSTRAC’s 2016-17 annual report can be found on the annual reports page.
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