This week, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), has released new regulatory mandates based on legislation that was proposed back in 2017. These new regulations are now fully backed by the law, and will change some things about how businesses and exchanges operate in Australia.
Now, per AUSTRAC, all DCE companies operating in Australia will need to establish and maintain anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing programs that focus on identifying, mitigating, and handling any associated risks.
Businesses will also need to be able to identify users, as well as report any activity that appears suspicious to AUSTRAC. This includes all transactions that involve physical currency of $10,000 [AUD] or more. Furthermore, they will be required to store certain types of records for a minimum of seven years.
AUSTRAC has also shared that the Australian government is considering the next six months as a transitional phase, and claims it will wait to enforce action while DCEs move forward with the steps needed to meet the new obligations.
DCEs that are currently operating in Australia may continue their services while their registration applications are being looked over. According to AUSTRAC, “Existing businesses providing DCE services will need to register by 14 May 2018.”
Applying for a civil penalty order or an injunction, providing remedial direction, giving an infringement notice, or issuing an external compliance audit are some of the things listed as enforcement steps that will be taken if a business fails to comply within the timeframe given.
For exchanges that need further clarification, Chapter 5B of AUSTRAC’s compliance guide, referred to as the Digital Currency Exchange Registration Requirements, shares additional information.