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Australia

Ben Jayaweera, of Upper Mt Gravatt, has today appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates' Court charged with six counts of fraud involving approximately AUD5.9 million.

FCRO Subsection: 

For the past week, all the news in Australia has been about the huge give-aways planned for today's budget. Every single news broadcast since Thursday has had the story up front and pushed a message that for the first time in years, there is money in the kitty and the government intends to spend it. But the big stories are about tax reform and measures against tax evasion including banning large cash transactions. That's the headline. It's not quite the reality and, as always, a budget speech is a declaration of intent not fully reasoned legislation. Even so - it's a significant move. (edited)

On 19th April, Australia's newest national bank, Members' Equity Bank a.k.a. ME Bank, announced that it was to increase its interest rates on existing home loans, with effect from 19th April. Then it made a silly error. Given that the banking sector in Australia is under the most intense scrutiny and that it would be logical to assume that, if at any time, this is the time where banks will double, triple even quadruple check their actions, the stupidity of the error raises a serious question: is the financial sector in Australia simply under-skilled and, therefore, unfit for purpose?

BIScom Subsection: 

When one looks at investigations into money laundering in Australia, there is a factor that crops up over and over and over again. The money came from, or has a connection to, Malaysia. And it's not the connection the rest of the world expects.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority and ASIC yesterday signed a Cooperation Agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation in each jurisdiction.

Continuing our analysis of how Australia's Proceeds of Crime Act provides a mechanism for successful money laundering.

See Part I here

Late-stage money laundering is after the proceeds of criminal conduct have already been through a series of transactions to hide, move and even invest them. As the proceeds move further away from the original source, their origin is obscured but they are still not safe. Late-stage laundering usually involves using financial institutions or jurisdictions that are known to have good systems in place and therefore the next move is with the benefit of their reputation. Australia, on the other hand, provides - enshrined in its law - a safe haven that provides positive encouragement to launderers to place late-stage laundering there.

Part II here

Financial adviser Drew Grosskreutz of Queensland, Australia, has been banned from providing financial services for three years, says ASIC

BIScom Subsection: 

As China continues is increasingly effective "Operation Fox Hunt" against corrupt officials who have left China with their spoils, or sent their money abroad in the hope of hiding it, there is growing co-operation between Chinese authorities and those in the countries where people and/or assets are located. Australia is one country that has been helping. But a thorny old question remains.

In one of the most extraordinary results of a court case in recent memory, the New South Wales has ordered that a man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is to be approved to run a childcare business despite a conviction for sexual offences, a number of other reported alleged sexual events that did not result in prosecution and alleged domestic violence. Whatever happened to the basic "fit and proper" test?

This is such a massive topic that we can, today, do little more than make a placeholder article. How, one has to ask, does anyone "miss" tens of thousands of errors? We think it's probably not too difficult and banks, etc. should take note.

BIScom Subsection: 

Reports that Australian banks are going to co-operate on KYC information are welcome but fall far short of the ideal. Also, conceptually, it's been tried before, and failed. We know: we covered one such attempt in WMLR Vol 5 No 3 in November 2003.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) have worked together to identify those with criminal histories and continued connections with suspected criminal activity who also hold company directorships, including directorships of private companies: then ASIC has removed them from their boards. The action is designed to limit the use of corporations in the commission of crimes, including money laundering.

Australia has long been a dangerous environment in the housing market. It was, in relative terms, barely affected by the global financial crisis and rampant inflation has been ignored by national and state governments, both of which have significant influence over the market. It's a bizarre market: the signs of imminent collapse are ignored and prices continue to rise, causing excessive borrowing and thousands of families trapped in rentals because they cannot afford to buy. New South Wales has today announced significant changes to the taxes under its control to try to fix some of the causes of under-supply. But interest rates, the most important weapon, are in federal hands.

CoNet Section: 

Continuing our analysis of AFP v Ganesh Kalimuthu & Anor

For part one see here

The case is said to be on its own facts but the Court was not invited to consider all the relevant facts. It is therefore a narrow judgment. It is a precedent but it is not a comprehensive precedent and creates an open door for international transfers of large amounts of money with impunity.

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