Ummmmmm, yeah! So, should I have a program that attempts to spot it and stop it? Ummmmmmm, probably!
While it makes commercial sense to have an AML/CTF (that’s anti money laundering and counter terrorism funding) program, there’s a law that makes it compulsory for certain companies to have one, and to report to AUSTRAC. These include banks, building societies, people in the gaming and gambling industries, gold dealers, currency exchanges, etc.
There’s even been talk about expanding the list to include lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and certain other businesses and professions. However, nothing is in print yet.
Too many companies wait until AUSTRAC comes knocking before preparing or updating their AML/CTF policies and training programs. There’s recently been an increase in funding for AUSTRAC to enable it to crack down on money laundering and in particular, terrorism funding.
An AML/CTF program basically sets out how your organisation:
- identifies risks in your business;
- deals with such risks, such as undertaking pre-employment checks and satisfying yourself that a customer is who they claim to be;
- trains employees so they know the customers and understand their financial activities;
- monitors the effectiveness and performance of the program;
- complies with very strict reporting obligations around suspicious, large-ish and international transactions; and
- keeps records about anything and everything (including your AML program).
Why should you care? Because you’re a good corporate citizen! And, if you’re required to report or be registered, and you aren’t, AUSTRAC may take away all your cashmoneyz with a nasty fine. In April AUSTRAC dished out its biggest fine yet – a hefty $336,600 for providing money transfer services through unregistered remittance businesses. But it gets better - courts can issue fines of up to $18 million, or imprisonment!
So, if you deal in precious metals and stones or handle lots of money, get yourself an AML/CTF program and make sure your staff understand it, if not because AUSTRAC says you have to, then because it’s a good idea to not have your name associated with money laundering and terrorism funding.