Perth Mint avoids fine over anti-money laundering failures
Perth Mint has entered an enforceable undertaking (EU) with AUSTRAC to improve compliance with Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
In August, the financial crimes regulator ordered the appointment of an external auditor to Gold Corporation, which trades as The Perth Mint, to assess the entity's compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and Financial Rules Instrument 2007.
According to AUSTRAC, the audit identified non-compliance with the AML/CTF laws.
It reflected the regulator's concerns about Gold Corporation's AML/CTF program, monitoring systems and controls, and its reporting to AUSTRAC.
After carefully considering the audit findings, including the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance and Gold Corporation's willingness to cooperate and proactively work to comply with its AML/CTF obligations, AUSTRAC determined that an EU was the most appropriate regulatory response.
AUSTRAC said the EU will ensure that Gold Corporation commits sufficient resources to implement its remediation program or risk further enforcement action.
It said further action could include seeking court orders to enforce the EU or cancelling it and taking other action, including commencing civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court.
AUSTRAC believes the EU will ensure that Gold Corporation addresses the AML/CTF deficiencies through its remediation program.
According to the regulator, Gold Corporation is obligated to carry out the remediation program under supervision from AUSTRAC and an independent third-party expert. The remediation is expected to conclude by April 2025.
Further, Gold Corporation must demonstrate consistent progress to AUSTRAC in its remediation program while ensuring that it meets agreed timeframes for remedial actions.
AUSTRAC acting chief executive Peter Soros says that the EU is designed to ensure future compliance.
"The EU is necessary to ensure that Gold Corporation's remediation remains on course, and we will continue to oversee their progress to ensure ongoing compliance," he says.
"All businesses enrolled with AUSTRAC must have robust systems in place to ensure they meet their AML/CTF obligations. Businesses like Gold Corporation are the front line of defence in protecting Australia's financial system from exploitation by criminals."
The news has been welcomed by Pert Mint, which acknowledged that compliance issues were identified in the audit and stressed that no fine has been imposed as part of the EU.
"The Perth Mint is fully committed to its obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006," The Perth Mint chair Sam Walsh says.
"We're working hard to meet the expectations and maintain the trust of the WA community, the gold mining sector, our business partners and customers. "
Walsh added Australia's official bullion mint has already completed several critical improvements.
"The board and executive team welcome the external audit as an opportunity to support and inform our ongoing efforts to improve systems and processes," he says.
"We continue to take steps to strengthen our compliance structures to ensure we play our part in protecting Australia's financial system from criminal exploitation."
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