New Cross-Sector Alliance Set To Combat Financial Crime

Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, is just one of the nearly twenty partners involved in a new anti-financial crime alliance.

The Fintel Alliance is a cooperative effort of both the public and private sectors, and at the time of writing it is comprised of 19 partners including AUSTRAC, the Australian Federal Police, the ATO, the ‘big four’ banks, Western Union, and PayPal.

The UK Financial Intelligence Unit has also joined the Alliance, and several other potential international partners have been in talks with AUSTRAC.

The Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, described the alliance as “the first true public-private partnership of its kind in the world”, and said that it “brings together under the one roof the collective knowledge and resources of Government and industry.”

 

The Alliance’s main goal will be combating money laundering and terrorism financing, along with white-collar financial crime and gang activity.

According to Mr Keenan, it is already working on three projects:

  • Examining the Panama Papers
  • Identifying and profiling online money mules
  • Enhancing the use of Australian Cyber Online Reporting Network data

The Financial Intelligence Analyst Course

Announced to work in tandem with the Fintel Alliance is the new Financial Intelligence Analyst Course, a specialist training course created by AUSTRAC to produce “world-leading” financial intelligence analysts.

Mr Keenan describes the new course as “ground-breaking”, saying that it represents “the first step in creating a new breed of highly specialised serious financial crime fighters to protect our national security”.

Mr Keenan emphasised the need for the course, saying that “as organised crime and terrorism becomes more sophisticated, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need highly skilled people to fight back and protect our national security”.

“By harnessing the expertise and knowledge of industry and government, FIAC will produce the specialists we need to strengthen Australia’s National Intelligence Community,” Keenan said.

The course was developed with help from law enforcement agencies, industry, academia, and AUSTRAC’s US counterpart, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency.

AUSTRAC CEO Paul Jevtovic outlined the prospective aims of the course, saying, “We aim to make Australia the most difficult jurisdiction in the world for organised crime and terrorism financiers to operate in.

“To achieve this, we have ensured the course includes financial intelligence tradecraft to transform intelligence analysts into financial intelligence analysts.”

A pilot form of the course is currently being undertaken by 16 analysts drawn from state police and law enforcement agencies across the country, and AUSTRAC plans to have the first tertiary accredited courses rolled out later this year.

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