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Crown Casinos: is AUSTRAC over-reaching?

Paddy Oliver looks at the Statement of Claim in AUSTRAC v Crown and asks if AUSTRAC is over-reaching.

AUSTRAC's view of the AML/CTF Act and Rules in the civil proceedings against Crown is pushing the boundaries. A close reading of the pleadings in the Statement of Claim with regard to the alleged failures in risk management and governance reveals that AUSTRAC has adopted a "council of perfection" view of those concepts when it comes to an AML-CTF Program. For example,

[89] "The Standard Part A Programs did not include or establish an appropriate approval and oversight framework that was capable by design of identifying, mitigating and managing the ML/TF risks reasonably faced.."

[125] "At no time did the Standard Part A Programs establish appropriate information management systems with respect to customer risk assessments."

[163] "At no time did the Standard Part A Programs include or incorporate appropriate systems and controls for the Crown Melbourne Board or the Crown Perth Board to appropriately monitor management’s performance against an appropriate ML/TF risk management framework, including as against risk appetite."

[181] "The Standard Part A Programs did not set out a framework for appropriate assurance and audit functions for AML/CTF matters."

As a lawyer and consultant with deep experience of the AML/CTF Act my opinion is that AUSTRAC is attempting to change the law without going via the parliamentary route.

Most, if not all, reporting entities would fail AUSTRAC's expectations in the SoC. Just because of Crown's alleged serious failures does not mean that it should be held to a higher standard than other reporting entities. Yes, controversial but the rule of law is exactly that.

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Paddy Oliver is a lawyer, auditor and financial crime consultant.

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