Austrac censures two banks over breaches of AML law

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SYDNEY - Barclays and Chinese lender Mega International have been censured by Australia's anti-money laundering body, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), for "significant breaches" of its rules on reporting suspicious transactions and account activity.

Austrac stated the banks' actions had left their services and the wider financial system vulnerable to potential abuse by criminals looking to launder the proceeds of crime or finance terrorism.

Barclays has undertaken to review all account transactions carried out since July 1, 2002 and will report any suspicious activity to Austrac. It will also have to submit information about any large fund transfers into or out of Australia.

Mega International has provided a similar guarantee to review transactions since January 2002, although the Australian Daily noted Austrac remains concerned the bank could still in breach of Australian law.

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