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Australia and Lebanon strengthen ability to fight money laundering and terrorist financing


Australia and Lebanon strengthen ability to fight money laundering and terrorist financingAustralia and Lebanon have agreed to exchange financial intelligence to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, further expanding the international financial intelligence network, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison announced today.

This significant step was taken last week by the Director of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Mr Neil Jensen, and his counterpart in Lebanon, Dr Muhammad Baasiri, Secretary of the Special Investigations Commission.

"Signing this memorandum of understanding is another important step in the establishment of an international network to uncover the financing of crime and terrorism, money laundering and other serious crimes, and complements the strong relationship already in place between the two countries' enforcement agencies,' Senator Ellison said.

"The critical value of financial intelligence is well documented in investigations by law enforcement and revenue agencies across the globe. International exchange of financial intelligence to combat transnational crime is occurring more frequently and faster than ever before, making it more difficult to launder money and finance terrorism undetected.

"Australia is at the leading edge of work to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and is committed to a global and cooperative approach to the issue,' Senator Ellison said.

This is the 21st such agreement signed by Australia and the 10th established this year. Australia already has agreements with Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Guernsey, Korea, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the USA, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

Mr Jensen said the agreements will have a significant impact on the identification and investigation of criminal activity.

"The agreement with the Special Investigations Commission of Lebanon will facilitate AUSTRAC's work, which includes the National Illicit Drug Strategy funded project on illicit drug trafficking,' Mr Jensen said.

Senator Ellison noted that Australia had also recently enacted regulations under the Extradition Act 1988 which declare Lebanon to be an extradition country. The regulations were made on a non-treaty basis and allow Australia to receive and consider extradition requests from Lebanon.

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Last modified: 02/07/2014 00:00