Anti-Money Laundering Assistance Team
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, there has been a major boost to efforts to monitor and regulate terrorist and criminal financing. Under the Howard government in Australia (1996-2007), greater regional focus was placed on transboundary security programs (guns, drugs, money-laundering, terrorism) rather than human security issues.
The Australian government has increased its support for Pacific countries to strengthen their financial intelligence capabilities, with programs run by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Attorney General’s Department (AGD). The Anti-Money Laundering Assistance Team (AMLAT) from the AGD is an Australian Government program to assist Pacific island countries to develop anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) systems.
Anti-Money Laundering Assistance Team, Attorney General’s Department
“AMLAT is now fully staffed and includes advisers and consultants working for the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, providing AML/CFT technical assistance and training in the areas of:
- legal policy and legislative advice
- awareness raising
- establishing & developing financial intelligence units (FIUs) and related
whole-of-government operational links
- developing administrative procedures, forms, guidelines and regulations
- training in the analysis of financial intelligence
- training in the investigation & prosecution of money laundering and terrorist financing
“High-level direction for AMLAT is informed by a Strategic Priorities Reference Group (SPRG), comprising representatives of the Pacific Anti-Money Laundering Program (PALP), the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the Pacific Financial and Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), AUSTRAC, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), DFAT, AusAID, and Westpac and ANZ Banks.
“AMLAT is committed to working closely with partner countries, other donors and the private sector to deliver integrated packages of assistance that promote regional knowledge and skill transfer. For example, a recent AMLAT awareness raising workshop hosted by the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI) included speakers from APG, PFTAC and Westpac and specialist FIU expertise from the Cook Islands.
“AMLAT staff are currently based in Australia and will travel for extended periods to provide in-country assistance. AMLAT’s budget is $7.7m over four years (2005-2009) and this includes capacity to hire AML/CFT expertise on a contract basis.”
Crime funds boost financial intelligence gathering, Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus, media release, Wednesday 11 March 2009
“The Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus today announced the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, AUSTRAC, will receive more than $3 million in funding to improve its financial intelligence capabilities….AUSTRAC is Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit.”
Security Environment Update, Attorney General’s Office, 8 May 2007
“AGD’s Anti-Money Laundering Assistance Team is working with Pacific countries to establish systems to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. Over the past year, the Team has provided a variety of technical assistance to Pacific countries including facilitating the establishment of the Solomon Islands’ Financial Intelligence Unit and providing in-country mentoring to its analysts, conducting a workshop for representatives of 14 Pacific Financial Intelligence Units and presenting workshops on anti money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism in Tonga and Solomon Islands, and for the judiciary and Bar in Palau.”
Pacific Regional Workshop for Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and Transnational Crime Units (TCUs), Attorney General’s Department website, 2007
“AMLAT and the Australian Federal Police hosted a five day Regional Workshop for Pacific island Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and Transnational Crime Units (TCUs) in Sydney on 4 to 8 June 2007. The aim of the workshop was to develop the capacity of key agencies in the region to gather and analyse financial intelligence, while encouraging internal and external cooperation across organisations.”