To strengthen our existing laws to stop criminals prospering through our financial institutions. We can do this by widening the net of our Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) legislation, which currently covers banks, casinos and bullion dealers.
Lawyers, accountants and real-estate agents (also called as ‘Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions’, or DNFPs) should:
- Conduct customer due diligence – such as identifying the source of their funds and whether they are a ‘Politically Exposed Person’ (or closely related to such a person).
- Lodge specified transaction and suspicious matter reports with the regulator, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
- Establish, implement and maintain an AML/CTF program specifying how they identify, mitigate and manage the risk of their services being misused to facilitate money laundering or terrorism financing.
Money laundering allows criminals to enjoy the spoils of their crimes and enables corrupt officials to profit from their misconduct. While originating countries lose the laundered funds, they have many negative effects in recipient countries too, funding organised crime, contributing to local corruption and distorting the property and luxury goods market.
Approximately $US 1.6 trillion is estimated to be laundered annually (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011).
Real estate accounted for up to 30 per cent of criminal
assets confiscated worldwide between 2011 and 2013 (FATF, 2013). Transparency International’s research found Australia to be especially poorly equipped to control money laundering in the property market. TI investigated 10 key loopholes in the system and found them all to be wide open in Australia (Transparency International, 2017, ‘Doors Wide Open‘).
Bringing lawyers, accountants and real-estate agents under the remit of our AML/CTF laws would close some of the gaps in the current system.
Position Paper – April 2019