In April 2016, the Attorney General’s Department of the Australian Government issued a report on a review of the prevailing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime (The Report).
According to a recent quote from the Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan these reforms are likely to go ahead. Mr Keenan is quoted as saying “the government is committed to facilitating growth and innovation in this sector and appropriate anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulation will aid that development“.
The report states:
“Other services that pose a high ML/TF risk should be captured under the AML/CTF regime Submissions to the review generally supported extending AML/CTF regulation to other services that pose high ML/TF risks. These include new payment types and systems (such as digital currencies) and a range of services provided by lawyers, accountants, conveyancers, real estate agents, high-value dealers, trust and company service providers, and offshore-based businesses.“
By way of background, in 2014, AUSTRAC noted that digital currencies could become a target for use by terrorist groups. They stated:
“A number of online payment systems and digital currencies are also anonymous by design, making them attractive for terrorist financing, particularly when the payment system is based in a jurisdiction with a comparatively weaker AML/CTF regime. Terrorist groups engaged in radicalisation, recruitment and communication online (such as through social media) are a particularly high risk of using online payment systems and digital currencies.”