AML Tranche 2 legislation update

The Australian Attorney-General has announced that he intends to introduce legislation for Tranche 2 of anti-money laundering regulation of services provided by lawyers, accountants, trust and company service providers, real estate agents, and dealers in precious metals and stones, by the end of 2024.

Video of National Press Club Address (ABC iview)

Background.

Reinforcng the announcement, Austrac has released two national risk assessments on money laundering and terrorism financing by AUSTRAC.

The risk assessments will guide the efforts of various law enforcement, regulatory, investigative and policy agencies to combat money laundering and other related crimes.

These assessments are also intended to:

  • Provide financial institutions and other industry sectors with guidance on the scale and impact of the risks that their businesses face;
  • Inform the development of their own risk assessments and transaction monitoring programs; and
  • Offer the latest insights needed to help protect their business against exploitation by serious and organised criminals.

Austrac’s assessments confirm that criminals continue to use traditional channels such as cash, the purchase and exchange of luxury goods, in particular, real estate in Australia, domestic banks, casinos and remitters to launder funds in Australia.

With reference to the importance of regulating Tranche 2 entities the Austrac CEO said:

“Lawyers can facilitate money laundering, including unwittingly, through the provision of their professional services. Law enforcement agencies are consistently identifying criminals who seek out and exploit the advice and services of lawyers to legitimise their activity and obfuscate the proceeds of crime.

Domestic criminals rely on lawyers, who often work alongside other professionals such as accountants, financial advisers and offshore service providers, to conceal illicit funds and beneficial ownership….

We rate real estate as posing a very high risk of money laundering in Australia. We see property purchases consistently in our financial intelligence as a way for organised criminals and transnational organised crime to store wealth in Australia. …

While this sector remains outside of Australia‚Äôs Money Laundering regulation it will remain a very attractive means for criminal groups globally to launder money and store their wealth and continue to allow those who profit from drug and human trafficking, child exploitation and international frauds to profit from their crime.”

Austrac assesses lawyers and accounting professionals (including tax advisers) as posing a high and stable money laundering vulnerability.

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David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
Email:
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

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