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Australia and Malaysia join to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs

Senator for Western Australia

E08/03 4 February 2003

Australia and Malaysia join to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism

Australia has taken a major step forward in the war against terror and money laundering through a significant agreement with the Malaysian Government, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison announced today.

Senator Ellison said the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) had recently signed an agreement for the exchange of financial intelligence with the Malaysian Government.

“This is a major step forward in countering money laundering and terrorist financing,” Senator Ellison said.

“It is the first of a number of agreements which will be signed this year with our neighbours.”

The agreement was signed by AUSTRAC Director Neil Jensen and on behalf of the Malaysian Government by the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

The agreement provides for the exchange of financial intelligence between the Malaysian Financial Intelligence Unit within Bank Negara Malaysia and AUSTRAC, which is Australia’s specialist anti-money laundering regulator and financial intelligence unit.

Australia already has agreements in this region with New Zealand, Vanuatu and Singapore.

AUSTRAC Director Neil Jensen said the agreement with Malaysia would enhance the excellent relationship that already existed between Bank Negara Malaysia and AUSTRAC to the benefit of both countries.

“I look forward to a very long and prosperous relationship between Bank Negara Malaysia and AUSTRAC and to working closely with the Bank’s financial intelligence team,” Mr Jensen said.

Senator Ellison said legislative amendments to the Financial Transaction Reports Act in July last year had enabled AUSTRAC to quickly progress agreements with Australia’s neighbours and other financial intelligence units around the world.

“The critical value of financial intelligence is now apparent,” Senator Ellison said. “Its value has been well documented in investigations by law enforcement and revenue agencies. The world’s leaders have publicly recognised the need to find the money trail in fighting terrorism.

“Australia is at the leading edge of work in this field.”

Media inquiries: Mairi Barton. Ph 02/6277 7260 or 0439 300 335