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Vanuatu Press Release

Australia and Vanuatu Agree to Combat Money Laundering Activities in the Pacific.

The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vanuatu for cooperation in the exchange of financial intelligence.

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

"Authorities in Australia and Vanuatu have worked together on a number of significant criminal investigations and cooperation between our respective law enforcement agencies has been excellent.

"Australia is very appreciative of Vanuatu's continued efforts to warn other Pacific Island nations about suspicious financial activity identified by the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit," Senator Ellison said.

Senator Ellison said there was increasing evidence to suggest money laundering activities were linked to people smuggling activities, the financing of terrorist activities and organised crime syndicates.

"Greater intelligence on money laundering activities is a significant contributor to fighting transnational crimes, including people smuggling," he said.

Under the Memorandum, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit agree to cooperate with each other in the exchange of information which may assist
in the investigation and prosecution of persons suspected or having engaged in money laundering or other serious criminal activity.

Senator Ellison and the Hon Joe Natuman, Vanuatu's Minister of Internal Affairs signed the memorandum in Bali, Indonesia where they are attending the Regional Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. The conference is being co-hosted by Australia and Indonesia.

Australia has similar agreements with a number of other countries including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy and Belgium.

Media contact Louise Patroni 02 6277 7260 or 0418 420 917

Last modified: 08/07/2014 00:00