Australia focusing even more on TBML with new multi-agency taskforce

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is launching a multi-agency taskforce to target criminals who are laundering tens of millions of dollars in Australia every day to bankroll lavish lifestyles and further crime.

Taskforce Avarus will target criminal syndicates involved in, amongst other things, trade-based money laundering (TBML) schemes using anything from low-value goods such as baby formula and vitamins to high-end goods such as jewellery and bullion to launder money.

TBML focus

The taskforce brings together the AFP, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Border Force as well Australia’s government agency for detecting, deterring and disrupting financial crime, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac).

Late last year, Austrac issued guidance to help financial service providers –  particularly those engaged in trade financing – to detect and report suspicious financial activity (Trade-based financial crime, 16 December 2022).

Involving financial institutions

The taskforce is a targeted offensive against Australian and offshore organised criminals, who are laundering money through the nation’s financial system and property market at an alarming scale.

An AFP statement on the new taskforce says it will work with international partners and seek the participation of a number of public private relationships, including financial institutions that currently assist law enforcement to combat money laundering.

Working closely with private industry will make the sharing of information faster and increase bilateral capability according to the statement.

The APF statement, New money laundering taskforce tackles lifeblood of organised crime, which includes case studies on TBML and other money laundering typologies uncovered by Australia’s law enforcement agencies, can be found here.

Austrac’s guidance, Preventing trade-based money laundering in Australia, can be found here.


Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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