AUSTRAC strengthens ties with UK

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has deepened its partnership with the United Kingdom in a bid to further clamp down on multinational financial crime, signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two British regulators: the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The move is expected to demonstrate AUSTRAC’s further commitment to fighting money laundering, terrorism financing and other crimes.

Under the agreement with the FCA, the two agencies would strengthen engagement on regulatory issues, including exchanging regulatory information, and improving shared understanding of emerging trends, risks, and the compliance of businesses operating both in the UK and Australia.

The second MoU with HMRC would aim to generate opportunities through the exchange of regulatory information to strengthen operational collaboration between the two agencies, and could result in joint anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing supervision.

AUSTRAC’s chief executive, Nicole Rose, said AUSTRAC was committed to working with international partners to exchange information to help combat financial crime given its interconnected global context, where criminal and national security threats transcended borders.

Simon York, director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said the MoU would help both countries share information and intelligence in their joint fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, building on our already successful working relationship.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Australian Government, using this MoU to better understand businesses that work across our two nations and better protecting our countries from serious and organised crime,” he added.

The MOUs with FCA and HMRC followed the signing of AUSTRAC’s MoU with the Great Britain Gambling Commission in January 2020 and would complement the financial intelligence-focused MOU with the UK National Crime Agency.

“Money laundering enables a range of serious crimes to occur, from drug and human trafficking, to terrorism financing. The signing of these two MoUs cements Australia’s long-standing commitment to working with valued partners, like FCA and HRMC, to drive behavioural change and uplift capability across industry to create a hostile financial environment for organised crime,” Rose said.

AUSTRAC, as Australia’s financial regulator and intelligence agency, has the dual function of supervising regulated businesses, and producing financial intelligence to share with partner agencies – domestic and international – to keep Australia’s community and financial systems safe from serious organised crime.