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14th March 2022


Due to the weak AML laws of Australia and the crisis in Ukraine, Australia can become a hub for money laundering. Recently, Australia has been placed on the FATF grey list for incompliant AML regulations and multiple fraud cases. The country, along with Haiti and Madagascar, is one of only three that have yet to commit to putting attorneys, accountants, and real estate agents under the purview of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding regulations (AML-CTF). 


Eight years ago, Australia committed to putting attorneys, accountants, and real estate agents under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding legislation. After failing to follow through on a promise made eight years ago to bring the professions into the AML-CTF system, the government now faces a race against time to act before global authorities place Australia on a "grey list" of countries that do not meet international standards – a move that experts say would embarrass the country, harm its banks, and make it more difficult for businesses to raise funds overseas.


According to Neil Jeans, the CEO of the AML-CTF compliance group Initialism, Australia is "certainly" vulnerable to abuse by sanctions-busters "because you have, effectively, a considerable fraction of the gatekeepers or enablers who are not obligated to know who their clients are." People may be "seated in a bar in western Sydney, and the pokies room behind them could have a bunch of people pushing $50,000 through the pokies in one evening, laundering their money," he says.


Australian government updated its regulation for AML and promised FATF for more stringent rules and regulations and also added "The government has been unequivocal in denouncing the Russian government's activities and is committed to a robust and effective sanctions policy, including ensuring that ill-gotten profits and other sanctioned wealth are properly targeted by Austrac," Andrews' spokeswoman said. "


However, if FATF evaluators aren't convinced that Australia is on the right track, the country could join the Cayman Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen on the grey list, which includes jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen that have "strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing."


Source: The Guardian 

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