New Bill to expand AML offences and increase penalties

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Economic Disruption) Bill 2020 has been introduced into the House of Representatives and referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for reporting by 10 November 2020.

The Bill amends the Commonwealth Crimes Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act to “update Commonwealth money laundering offences to address the behaviour of modern money laundering networks and remove unnecessary obstacles to securing convictions and appropriate sentencing outcomes.”

The Bill also strengthens information-gathering powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act by increasing penalties for non-compliance and clarifying the circumstances in which information gathered under these powers can be disclosed and used.

The amendments extend money laundering offences to “controllers” who are persons who cause a dealing with money or other property to occur or engage in conduct in relation to money or other property. This ensures that offences capture the controllers of these networks who do not typically deal with money or other property directly and instead send instructions to another person to locate, move, or otherwise engage in conduct that affects money or other property.

The Bill also targets members of these networks who remain wilfully blind to the nature and origins of proceeds of crime that they deal with as a means of avoiding money laundering offences. The Bill does this by creating new offences of engaging in conduct in relation to ‘proceeds of general crime’, which remove the need to link money or other property to a kind of indictable offence and instead take an ‘all crimes’ approach to predicate offending.

The Bill also creates another tier of offences relating to money or other property valued at $10,000,000 or more, which is intended to address the most serious cases of money laundering.

It also introduces a new offence of dealing with money or other property valued at $1,000,000 or more where it is reasonable to suspect that the money or other property was ‘proceeds of indictable crime’.

If you found this article helpful, then subscribe to our news emails to keep up to date and look at our video courses for in-depth training. Use the search box at the top right of this page or the categories list on the right hand side of this page to check for other articles on the same or related matters.

David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Your Compliance Support Plan

We understand you need a cost-effective way to keep up to date with regulatory changes. Talk to us about our fixed price plans.