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The Australian Government has initiated a consultation on revising the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Terrorism Financing (CTF) regulations to cover non-financial entities.
As per the law firm Gilbert & Tobin, several loopholes were identified in the federal “Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing Act 2006” since 2015, when Australia received a negative evaluation assessment from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee issued a report in April 2022, provoking the federal government to expand the legislation and include Designated Non-financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) immediately. As per the report, Australia has committed to abide by FATF standards but hasn’t regulated DNFBPs yet.
The new government has recently disclosed its plans to work on all the reforms suggested by the Senate committee. According to Attorney General of Australia Mark Dreyfus, loopholes in the country’s AML regime have made it a fertile ground for laundering ill-gotten funds.
Dreyfus stated that the main risks are accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, service providers, precious jewels, and metal dealers. He added that Australia has failed to fulfil 16 out of 40 FATF suggestions, including expanding the CTF and AML regime to DNFBPs. Mark Dreyfus added that Australia is among five jurisdictions out of over 200 that haven’t regulated tranche-two entities. Thus, Australia is now at risk of being “grey-listed” by the FATF, which would harm the economy.
According to Gilbert & Tobin, Australia will undergo another mutual evaluation by FATF in 2024 or 2025. It adds that the reforms will ask lawyers to perform Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and transaction monitoring in high-risk scenarios.
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