AUSTRAC releases junket tour operations money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment

AUSTRAC has today launched its money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risk assessment of the junket tour operations (JTOs) sector.

AUSTRAC assesses that the JTO sector faces multiple criminal threats and the overall ML/TF risk is high.

The assessment concludes that the main criminal threat facing the JTOs sector is money laundering. The assessment also found that patronage by high risk customers from foreign jurisdictions is a key vulnerability associated with junkets.

In producing the assessment, AUSTRAC engaged with casinos, banks and State and Commonwealth regulatory and law enforcement agencies, to collect information and insights about criminal threats, vulnerabilities and consequences related to junket operations.

The information in this assessment will assist casinos to assess their level of risk, strengthen their controls and report suspicious activity to AUSTRAC. It will also assist law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM said that AUSTRAC expects Australian casinos and associated sectors to use this assessment to protect their businesses and the Australian community from criminal threats.

“Money laundering and financial crime enables serious criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human trafficking which causes harm to our communities.

“The information contained in this risk assessment shows that junkets are highly vulnerable to criminal misuse and Australian casinos must do more to mitigate ML/TF risks. I urge casinos to take prompt action by assessing their levels of risk posed by junket operations, strengthening their controls and reporting suspicious activity to AUSTRAC,” Ms Rose said.

This risk assessment is the latest in a series of money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessments developed to assist Australian industry to identify, understand and disrupt serious criminal activity targeting Australia’s financial system and community.

AUSTRAC’s assessment of junket tour operations assessed financial data and intelligence for the period from April 2018 to March 2019, a period when junket tours were highly active. Due to international border closures there has been a significant reduction in JTO activity in Australian casinos this year.

The Junket Tour Operations in Australia: Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment can be found on the AUSTRAC website.

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