Here is a roundup of recent news from AUSTRAC.
Declaring Cash at International Departures
International travellers can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Australian Government announced the removal of outgoing passenger cards. It’s not the questions on the card that constituted the aggravation, it’s the fact that international travellers had to fumble around looking for a working pen whilst holding onto passports, luggage and in some cases, small children as they bolted for that big window to look at aeroplanes up close!
However, the absence of the outgoing passenger card does not relieve passengers from the obligation to declare cash amounts above $10,000. New forms are required to be downloaded from the AUSTRAC website, filled in and given to appropriate Border Force officers upon departure.
Click here to download the relevant form.
Store Value Cards
AUSTRAC has released a report covering the risk assessment of Store Value Cards (“SVCs”) - these include retail gift cards as well as travel cards. It is estimated that in Australia, there are over ten million SVCs with an aggregate net worth of over $1.5 billion.
The report noted that while such cards have a medium money laundering - terrorism financing risk across the sector, they actually pose a high level of criminal exploitation. It was noted that SVCs that can be loaded and redeemed in cash (especially internationally), ultimately hold a higher level of risk than those cards which do not carry such features and simply possess a set value which cannot be topped up.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan admitted that overseas, SVCs have been used to fund terrorist attacks, including the Paris attacks in November 2015.
Click here to view the Store Value Cards - Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment.
Unregistered Remittance Service
Those who wish to provide a remittance service must be registered on AUSTRAC’s Remittance Sector Register and nominate their status as being:
An independent remittance dealer.
A remittance network provider.
An affiliate of a remittance network provider.
The process to become registered involves drafting and ratifying an AML/CTF Program and lodging details of business and its senior executives (including police checks).
There is obviously a high money laundering - terrorism financing risk in the provision of such services, which explains the obligation to register with AUSTRAC.
Following investigations initiated by AUSTRAC, the first conviction in Australia was handed down to operators of an unregistered remittance service. The directors of Tin Vuong Pty Ltd received suspended sentences of 24 and 26 months imprisonment. Further, over $2 million was seized by authorities over the course of the investigation and the courts ordered that these funds be forfeited to the Commonwealth.
Ariel & Associates Pty Ltd has had extensive experience in dealing with AML/CTF issues since the inception of the legislation in 2006. We have drafted AML/CTF Programs, undertaken Independent Review of Reporting Entities’ AML/CTF Programs and have provided holistic advice for entities to ensure their processes and policies comply with their legislative and regulatory obligations.
Should you have any queries about ASIC or other issues involving compliance, licensing, or corporate governance, please contact Jeremy Danon, director of Ariel & Associates Pty Ltd on (02) 8223 3355 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.