Australia’s top anti-money laundering watchdog (AUSTRAC) has announced it has signed an MOU with the Victorian Gambling Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) aimed at strengthening its efforts against financial crime.
The MOU will enable the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and VGCCC to share information to protect the community by strengthening the gambling sector against criminal abuse.
AUSTRAC also has MOUs with state and territory-based gambling regulators in NSW, QLD, and ACT to enable strong partnerships and collaboration.
It comes after a Victorian royal commission into Crown Resorts revealed instances of breaches of money-laundering laws. The company is facing disciplinary action from the VGCCC for its role in enabling the illegal transfer of funds from China using UnionPay.
Last month, AUSTRAC commenced proceedings against Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth concerning non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said the MOU is an important step in the fight against financial and serious crime, and it confirms the commitment of both agencies to collaborate and exchange financial intelligence.
“The impact on the community of criminals exploiting the gambling industry to launder the proceeds of serious crime cannot be underestimated. It is critical for AUSTRAC and its state and territory-based regulatory and Government partners to work together to ensure the gambling industry is hardened against misuse by criminals,” Ms. Rose said.
Adam Ockwell, VGCCC Executive Director of Compliance, said the updated MOU will provide designated VGCCC staff access to AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence database.
This includes access to financial transaction information and suspicious matter reports from businesses to enable the VGCCC to identify and investigate threats facing the Victorian gambling sector and to refer to and assist law enforcement agencies in investigating criminal activity.
The new agreement takes the existing MOU to the next level and enables better information sharing and cooperative regulatory oversight.
“Having faster access to AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence will strengthen our work in identifying any emerging financial crime issues so we can take appropriate regulatory action, including education measures, to minimize harm, protect the community and ensure the integrity of the gambling industries in Victoria.
“It is an object of the Acts we administer to ensure that gambling activities in Victoria are free from criminal influence and exploitation,” said Mr. Ockwell.