This week AUSTRAC and the Australia Federal Police co-hosted the 22nd Annual Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) in Canberra. Delegates spent the week discussing ways to bolster regional efforts to combat money laundering (ML) and terrorism financing (TF).
Money laundering enables a range of serious transnational organised crimes, such as child online exploitation, illicit drug trafficking, illegal firearm sales and human trafficking. These crimes cause harm and suffering across our region every day. The APG has brought together 520 delegates from 41 jurisdictions to work collaboratively to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing.
AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, opened the Plenary event, which was followed by a keynote address from Financial Action Taskforce Vice President Dr Marcus Pleyer, who recognised the importance of working together to address these global threats.
Ms Rose said the APG serves as an important platform to build capacity across our region.
“It’s so important that we have regional cooperation on this issue,” Ms Rose said. “In Australia we know that 70 per cent of our serious and organised crime targets have international links. While we do a great job here in Australia at detecting, tracking and disrupting financial crime, to effectively combat transnational criminal networks we need to collaborate with our regional intelligence and law enforcement partners.”
The week-long program included a peer review of the progress made by the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei and the Solomon Islands in effectively implementing international standards for combating ML and TF.
The APG also provides an opportunity for Australia to support our regional partners. Through the continued implementation of the Financial Analysts Intelligence Course we help to build technical capabilities across our region. This strengthens their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures, which is essential to ensure our region is protected from criminal exploitation.
APG Co-Chair, and Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Ms Leanne Close APM, said the APG’s annual meetings provide an important opportunity for jurisdictions across the region to come together to share our experiences in the fight against ML and TF, and conduct a health check on progress with implementing the international standards.
“This year’s APG has seen the largest attendance to date,” Ms Close said. “It demonstrates of our region’s commitment to fighting terrorism financing, money laundering and other serious crime. Working together we can help create a financial sector free from criminal abuse.”
The 2020 annual meeting of the APG will be held in Bangladesh.