The AUSTRAC annual report 2017-18 is now available. It highlights some significant and record achievements for the agency during the 2017-18 financial year.
AUSTRAC continued to use its unique position in Australia’s national security and law enforcement community to build resilience in the financial system. AUSTRAC uses financial intelligence and regulation to disrupt money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.
In August 2017, AUSTRAC initiated civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) for serious and systemic non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. This led to the highest ever civil penalty in Australia’s history, with a $700 million penalty ordered by the Federal Court against CBA.
This enforcement action, coupled with AUSTRAC’s increased commitment to education and collaboration with its reporting entities, led to a 70 percent increase in suspicious matter reporting compared to the previous year.
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose PSM said this increase in suspicious matter reporting significantly bolsters AUSTRAC’s ability to support its law enforcement partners and protect Australian communities from criminal activity and terrorism.
Further demonstrating the value of AUSTRAC’s intelligence capability, its intelligence systems were accessed 3 million times by Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence community. Up from 2.7 million in 2016-17.
The total number of reports received by AUSTRAC in 2017-18 rose to more than 136 million, an increase of 22% from the 113 million received in 2016-17, equating to more than 370,000 reports per day.
“Over the last 20 years AUSTRAC has developed effective system platforms that can analyse vast data volumes and we continue to build our capacity to capitalise on our data holdings and draw valuable intelligence insights from them at scale,” Ms Rose said.
Recognising that serious crime and terrorism are global issues, 2017-18 saw AUSTRAC continue to increase its international collaboration and intelligence sharing, increasing the number of intelligence sharing agreements with financial intelligence units across the globe from 87 to 90.
AUSTRAC also increased the number of international intelligence exchanges it facilitated, with a total of 4,600 exchanges. This represents a 41% increase from the 3,250 exchanges in 2016-17.
“We recognise that financial crime is a global issue and organised crime syndicates are using increasingly sophisticated techniques and methodologies to exploit the global financial system,” Ms Rose said.
“AUSTRAC’s comprehensive network of international partner agencies is critical in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.”
The AUSTRAC annual report 2017-18 can be found on AUSTRAC’s website.