AUSTRAC has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) from two entities in the ING Bank Australia group (ING Bank Australia Ltd and ING Bank N.V., Sydney Branch) to uplift its compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws. ING self-identified and voluntarily reported shortcomings in relation to its compliance with its anti-money laundering obligations. The resulting regulatory inquiries, including an investigation, identified concerns in relation to AML/CTF program, monitoring systems and controls, and reporting to AUSTRAC.
ING have undertaken to continue their work to improve their AML/CTF governance and assurance controls and ensure they remain fit for purpose into the future. As part of the EU, they will continue to improve their:
- AML/CTF program;
- ML/TF risk assessment;
- IFTI and SMR reporting; and
- transaction monitoring.
AUSTRAC will monitor ING’s progress to ensure that actions are taken within the timeframes, through ongoing discussions and regular reporting to AUSTRAC on their progress.
AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer, Nicole Rose, said that the enforceable undertaking aims to ensure that the remediation efforts of ING are appropriately directed towards future compliance.
“ING have been fully cooperating with AUSTRAC throughout our regulatory inquiries and have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to addressing concerns about the effectiveness of their AML/CTF systems and controls.” Ms Rose said.
“I would like to acknowledge the significant work already undertaken by ING in identifying and implementing improvements to their programs. We look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure they meet their obligations under the AML/CTF Act.”
“It’s important that all businesses enrolled with AUSTRAC have robust systems in place to ensure they meet their AML/CTF obligations and play their part in protecting Australia’s financial system from exploitation by criminals.”
In 2021, AUSTRAC released a series of money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessments relating to banking operations in Australia. These reports provide information and guidance to support banks and their branches to assess their level of risk, strengthen their controls and report suspicious activity to AUSTRAC.
Details of the EU are available on the AUSTRAC website.
AUSTRAC’s regulatory approach
AUSTRAC uses a range of regulatory tools and powers to ensure compliance. Interactions are tailored based on the level of risk posed by the entities we regulate and their circumstances, and range from education and collaboration, through to regulatory interventions and enforcement.
AUSTRAC enforcement powers include:
- issuing infringement notices
- issuing remedial directions, which require a reporting entity to take specified action to ensure compliance
- accepting enforceable undertakings detailing the specific actions a reporting entity will commence or cease in order to comply with the AML/CTF Act
- seeking injunctions and/or civil penalty orders in the Federal Court.
AUSTRAC does not provide public commentary on individual reporting entities’ compliance.
Details of the consequences of not complying are available on the AUSTRAC website.
AUSTRAC (the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) is the Australian Government agency responsible for detecting, deterring and disrupting criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.
Through strong regulation, and enhanced intelligence capabilities, AUSTRAC collects and analyses financial reports and information to generate financial intelligence.