AUSTRAC issues $1.2m fine to institutional investment giant after alleged AML-CTF breaches

Austrac AML breach

Australia’s financial crimes investigation authority, AUSTRAC, has charged State Street Bank and Trust Company (SSBT) with an alleged 99 breaches of Australia’s AML-CTF Act, issuing a $1.24 million fine to the US-headquartered custodian bank.

AUSTRAC has alleged State Street failed to provide an international funds transfer instruction (IFTI) within the mandated 10-day timeframe – a requirement for all financial institutions under Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML-CTF) Act 2006.

The issuing and reporting of IFTIs are required for both sending and receiving parties when transferring funds “of any value”, made either electronically or under a designated remittance arrangement, into or out of Australia.

IFTI reports record information on payers, ordering institutions, senders, and beneficiary intuitions, among other data that can help authorities track financial crimes.

SSBT, one of the world’s largest custodian banks, was alleged to have contravened the AML-CTF Act on 99 separate occasions, with each individual breach attracting a fine of $12,600, adding to a total of $1,247,400.

AUSTRAC chief executive, Nicole Rose said that law enforcement agencies rely on financial transaction information “to track criminals and criminal activity”.

“[It’s] critical these transactions are reported accurately and on time to protect Australians from serious and organised crime and terrorism”, she said.

“Because the most sophisticated criminal syndicates operate across national borders, information about international funds transfers can provide a key piece of the puzzle for our law enforcement partners.”

Last year, regulated businesses reported 155 million international transfers to AUSTRAC.

AUSTRAC said it is working with State Street to address compliance issues with IFTI reporting systems and controls.

State Street Bank and Trust Company, with a local subsidiary in Sydney, provides services specifically for institutional investors.