Anti-money laundering gets budget boost - triSearch

Anti-money laundering gets budget boost

Australia is at risk of becoming a money laundering haven, the attorney general says, with the federal government to allocate $170 million of budget funding for regulators to stamp out the practice. 

Lawyers, accountants, trust service providers, precious stone dealers and real estate agents may soon need to do due diligence on customers and report suspicious matters to authorities as controls on money laundering and terrorism financing are extended.

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said Australia was one of only five nations failing to regulate these “tranche two entities”, putting the country at risk of becoming “grey-listed” by the global anti-money laundering taskforce.

“As a result of the former government’s failure to act, Australia is falling short of meeting the standards required to combat criminal abuse of our financial system, and at increased risk of becoming a haven for money laundering,” Mr Dreyfus said.

Drug dealers, people smugglers and other criminals try to legitimise their criminally-acquired money by doing things like buying homes, renovating them and selling them for capital gains.

Consultation kicked off last week to bolster and expand Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime and more than $166 million will be set aside in the federal budget for the task.

The money will go towards helping the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre put the new rules in place and lawyers, real estate agents and other newly-captured practitioners to comply with the rules.

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