The role of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is to enforce the compliance of cash dealers with the reporting requirements of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1998 and to ensure that instances of tax evasion and money laundering are reported to the appropriate authorities.
The Act deals with significant transactions, which are transactions exceeding $10,000. When a significant transaction occurs, the cash dealer must prepare a report of the transaction, sign it and send it to AUSTRAC. A cash dealer that does not comply with the reporting requirements will have committed a criminal offence under Part V of the Act. There are additional reporting requirements for certain other events, such as electronic transfer transactions and the international transfer of funds.
Cash dealers include financial institutions, corporations that provide financial or insurance services, trustees and managers of unit trusts and a person who carries on a business of operating a gambling house or casino. The obligations of solicitors are also prescribed by the Act.
The objective of the Act is that by preparing the reports to AUSTRAC, businesses can more easily identify their customers and are therefore more likely to reduce the incidence of fraud. In a recent case against Westpac, a London based casino commenced proceedings against the bank for failure to report the movement of large amounts of cash through a Sydney-based account which was being used by a customer of the bank to launder more than $100 million. Had the reports been made, AUSTRAC would have been able to place an injunction on the account.
If you would like further information about financial reporting requirements to AUSTRAC, please telephone Rebecca Flynn or email firstname.lastname@example.org.