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Financial exchange between Australia and Hong Kong, China aims to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs

Manager of Government Business in the

Senate Senator for Western Australia

E05/06 13 February 2006

Financial exchange between Australia and Hong Kong, China aims to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing in the region

Australia’s financial intelligence unit has entered into an understanding with its counterpart agency in Hong Kong, China to allow the two countries to exchange financial intelligence.

The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator the Hon. Christopher Ellison, said the signing signalled the preparedness of Australian and Hong Kong, China authorities to work together to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Hong Kong, China Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (JFIU) is an important step in the international fight against terrorist financing and the prevention of other major crimes,” Senator Ellison said.

“Working together with our international counterparts is one of the most powerful ways in which we can disable and disrupt transnational criminal syndicates. Hong Kong, China is an important strategic partner in these efforts.”

Senator Ellison said no single country can hope to be successful in combating transnational crime. “By following the money trail with financial intelligence units working together across international borders, we can stop criminals from laundering money,” Senator Ellison said.

“The signing allows Australia and Hong Kong, China to exchange financial intelligence and will assist in combating organised crime and other threats in our countries, in the region and globally.”

AUSTRAC Director Neil Jensen said the agency had a strong track record in working with Australian law enforcement agencies and international financial intelligence units to combat money laundering.

“In recent years, AUSTRAC has provided a high level of assistance to countries in our region to develop capacity in detecting and dealing with money laundering and terrorist financing. This Memorandum of Understanding will heighten our engagement with important neighbours in our region.”

Mr Jensen said AUSTRAC had developed a strong relationship with Hong Kong, China officials from JFIU.

“International financial intelligence exchange is at the forefront in the fight against terrorism, money laundering and other major crimes. This MOU provides us with another tool to identify criminals and take away their profits.”

The latest signing brings to 44 the total number of memoranda of understanding AUSTRAC has with foreign FIUs for the exchange of financial intelligence.

Further information: Michael Barrett (02) 6277 7260/0419 424 359

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/justiceministerHome.nsf