AUSTRAC proposes restructure of AML/CTF Rules

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre ("AUSTRAC") has published a draft indicative restructure of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules ("AML/CTF Rules") (a copy of the AML/CTF Rules and explanatory notes are available here). The draft restructure focuses on providing a "user-friendly", simplified version of the Rules rather than substantive amendments. Changes include grouping chapters together, removing repetitive text, clarifying existing chapter titles and providing simplified outlines as an aid. It is not intended that the published restructure will be made and registered, instead the focus is on stakeholder views on the framework which may be established. A public consultation period is open from 24 July to 21 August 2017.

AUSTRAC Report on Securities & Derivatives Sector: Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment

A two year study by AUSTRAC 'Securities & Derivatives Sector: Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment' (available here) has revealed that fraud, money laundering, market manipulation and insider trading are the most common risk areas for the share market in Australia. AUSTRAC assessed the overall money laundering and terrorism financing risk in the securities and derivatives sector as "medium". Nearly half of the 663 suspicious matters reported to AUSTRAC's securities and derivatives sector related to fraud. The report also revealed evidence that serious and organised crime groups have exploited the sector to launder money and engage in market manipulation.

Consultation paper regarding ASIC’s powers recommends sharing of intercepted phone calls

The Federal Treasury has released a consultation paper on ASIC’s enforcement powers (available here). The Treasury has recommended that the corporate regulator be allowed to receive and use recordings of telephone conversations that have already been intercepted by other agencies, such as the Australian Federal Police. Treasury said that on at least two occasions, ASIC was unable to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute insider trading because it could not use intercepted telephone conversations from the suspects. Interception agencies such as the AFP cannot currently share such evidence with ASIC. The Treasury’s consultation closes on 17 August 2017.

Parliament releases report into human trafficking and slavery

Australia’s Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement has published its report into human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices (available here). The report makes a number of recommendations including increased law enforcement training, the establishment of an Anti-Slavery and Trafficking Commissioner, a national compensation scheme for victims to be funded by proceeds of crime and a licensing regime for labour hire companies. The proposal to adopt a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, comparable to the Act in operation in the UK, is also currently being examined by the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.