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Australia and South Korea to share intelligence in fight against money laundering and terrorist financing

Australia and South Korea have agreed to exchange financial intelligence to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism under a new Memorandum of Understanding, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison announced today.

This significant agreement between the Governments of Australia and South Korea was signed in Seoul on behalf of Australia by the Director of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Mr Neil Jensen, and on behalf of South Korea by the Commissioner of the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU), Mr Byung-Ki Kim.

Senator Ellison said AUSTRAC, Australia's anti-money laundering regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit, had already been developing a strong relationship with its Korean counterpart. AUSTRAC recently hosted several delegations from South Korea and provided some insight into the successful operations of Australia's financial intelligence unit.

Senator Ellison said AUSTRAC and KoFIU would, to the full extent allowed by the laws of both countries, share information to aid investigation and prosecution of money launderers and the financiers of terrorism.

"The signing of this agreement with South Korea is another important step in the establishment of an international network to facilitate the prevention and detection of money laundering and other financial crimes," Senator Ellison said.

"Australia is at the leading edge of work in this field and we recognise that cooperation between countries on anti-money laundering activities is a significant contributor to fighting transnational crime, including terrorism and organised crime syndicates.

"I am very pleased to see the signing of this MOU with South Korea, who is a valued partner of Australia in international law enforcement efforts and in extending the regions anti-money laundering and counter terrorist regime."

This is the 14th such Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Australia. It is the third agreement this year, coming after similar agreements were signed with Canada and Malaysia in February. Australia also has agreements in place with Belgium, Denmark, France, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Vanuatu.

Mr Jensen said that by assisting in increasing the exchange of financial intelligence, these agreements would have a significant impact on the identification and investigation of criminal activity.

"AUSTRAC is currently working to settle agreements to exchange financial intelligence with a number of other countries," Mr Jensen said.

Media inquiries:

Mairi Barton Ph 02 6277 7260 or 0439 300 335

Last modified: 02/07/2014 00:00