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Fintel Alliance Operations

Fintel Alliance focusses the efforts of government, law enforcement and industry partners on projects that would benefit from a public private partnership approach. In most instances, this can be due to an emerging crime or complex crime type requiring greater understanding.

AUSTRAC has a dedicated team to lead and support the operational efforts of Fintel Alliance. The Fintel Alliance Operations team is responsible for leveraging the public private partnership to develop actionable intelligence for government, law enforcement and industry partners, as well as the broader financial industry.

Fintel Alliance projects operate for a period of time allowing greater understanding of a crime type, identification and targeting of suspected offenders and the sharing of learnings with a wider audience to assist in hardening the environment. At the closure of a project, an evaluation is undertaken to capture and share learnings before the effort is transitioned into standard operational activity.

Assisting industry to protect the community
In addition to operational outcomes, the Fintel Alliance has a focus on increasing the ability for financial institutions to understand, detect and disrupt financial crime to protect the Australian community.

In the past 12 months, Fintel Alliance partners and the wider financial industry have utilised the public-private partnership to:

  • Enhance systems and processes to better identify and respond to money laundering risks.
  • Develop algorithms and scenarios to better detect financial crimes including tax evasion, child exploitation, illegal phoenixing and exploitation of government stimulus measures.
  • Tighten controls in response to identified risks associated with third party cash deposits, leading to the limiting of cash services to high risk customers.
  • Enable real time support to significant national operations to identify assets and the proceeds of crime for restraint.
  • Increase the understanding of risks associated with high risk customer groups resulting in enhanced customer due diligence.
  • Develop agile analytics and new investigative tools to support complex network and transactional investigations.

Through the Fintel Alliance and wider engagement with AUSTRAC, reporting entities have been able to enhance suspicious matter reporting through the inclusion of narratives around suspected offending, link analysis charts and the inclusion of closed circuit television imagery. This has been achieved through regular feedback from law enforcement and government partners to the reporting entities on the effectiveness of suspicious matter reporting to initiate and support investigations into criminal offending.

CASE STUDY: Catching a Smurf

Fintel Alliance partnered with the Western Australia Police Force (WAPF) to commence a joint intelligence operation, targeting Perth-based syndicates suspected of laundering criminal proceeds using third parties to deposit cash via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). This intelligence project led to the discovery of an individual making multiple, low-value cash deposits at various ATMs and bank branches across Perth.

A subsequent investigation established the individual had laundered approximately $430,000 on behalf of an offshore money laundering syndicate. The individual was provided with cash by another Perth-based member of the syndicate, and received directions from an offshore member of the syndicate using a secure messaging service. This included specific instructions to deposit amounts of cash into bank accounts at various locations across Perth.

The individual was charged and pled guilty to four counts of property laundering under section 563A Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913 (WA) under charges laid by the WAPF Money Laundering Squad.