AUSTRAC report reveals extend of organised crime threat to financial industries
Cyber fraud, money laundering and insider trading are the three biggest threats posed by organised crime gangs to the Australian financial system, a new study has shown.
Australia's first risk assessment of the securities and derivatives sector has revealed how serious and organised criminals can, and have, exploited the country’s financial system to engage in criminal activity.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan today released AUSTRAC's Securities & derivatives sector: money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment, report in Sydney − the financial hub of Australia.
Keenan said financial markets are integral to Australia's economy. It has the second most active stock market in the Asia-Pacific region, with more than 6.7 million Australians owning shares, and 929,000 trades taking place per day on the ASX worth $4.7 billion.
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"But we know criminal gangs will seek to exploit any weaknesses in our financial systems, putting our economy, national security, and international reputation at risk," Keenan warned.
"This report sends a clear message to Australia's financial sector: no individual or company is immune from the threat of serious and organised crime, but they can mitigate it."
Fraud, including cyber-enabled fraud, was by far the highest reported threat to the sector (51 percent), with a significant number of customer email accounts and trading accounts being hacked and, in some cases, money stolen.
Money laundering and insider trading and market manipulation were equally the second highest areas of suspected criminal activity in the sector (21 percent), while Tax evasion (two percent) and terrorism financing (one percent) were the least reported threats to the sector.
Minister Keenan said the Coalition Government, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies, are committed to working with the financial sector to harden their domestic and international operations to undermine the business models of crooks and remove the profits from their crimes.
"Importantly, our efforts are paying dividends. Already this year, AUSTRAC and their partner agencies have detected and disrupted an international criminal syndicate that laundered more than $29 million in proceeds of crime in Australia," Keenen said.
"The AFP and ASIC, working together through the AFP-led Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre, also disrupted Australia's largest insider trading scheme totalling $7 million.
"I encourage Australia's financial sector to heed the findings of this report and work with AUSTRAC to understand both the risks of criminal exploitation, and their reporting obligations."
Australia's securities & derivatives sector: money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment can be viewed on the AUSTRAC website.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.