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Perth Mint Avoids Fines for Compliance Issues, Commits to Remediation Program

Perth Mint Avoids Fines for Compliance Issues, Commits to Remediation Program
Perth Mint Avoids Fines for Compliance Issues, Commits to Remediation Program

The Perth Mint, a taxpayer-owned company, has reached an agreement with AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial crime agency, to address compliance issues related to anti-money laundering laws. The Mint had been under investigation by AUSTRAC since August of last year, following concerns about its customer monitoring systems and reporting practices.

According to the investigation, the Mint was legally required to conduct thorough checks on the sale of gold to high-risk customers. However, it allegedly failed to do so. In addition, the Mint admitted to not realizing until 2021 that certain anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding laws applied to its activities. It also failed to report international money movements as required.

To rectify these issues, the Mint has agreed to a voluntary undertaking with AUSTRAC. This undertaking commits the Mint to address any identified issues through an audit process. It will also be subject to enhanced oversight and will work with an independent third-party expert to implement a remediation program.

AUSTRAC acting CEO, Peter Soros, stated, “The [enforceable undertaking] will ensure that Gold Corporation commits sufficient resources to adequately implement its remediation program promptly, or risk further enforcement action.”

The Mint has expressed its full commitment to fulfilling its legal obligations and has already begun implementing critical improvements. The newly appointed CEO, Paul Graham, emphasises the importance of rectifying past mistakes and strengthening compliance structures. He stated, “What I am more focused on is not what did we get wrong, what are we now doing to fix it and getting the training and development right for our staff and having the appropriate people in place to be able to take the company forward.”

The Minister responsible for the Mint, Bill Johnston, clarified that the investigation did not involve allegations of money laundering. He affirmed that the ongoing remediation work is progressing as planned. Furthermore, a separate Senate inquiry into the Mint, initiated by a Liberal Senator, is set to release its report in March of next year.

Critics argue that the Mint’s voluntary undertaking reflects ongoing concerns and a lack of confidence in the Mint’s compliance overhaul. Liberal Senator Dean Smith stated, “[The undertaking] makes clear that AUSTRAC remains concerned about current and future compliance at the Mint – and reflects its lack of confidence in the Mint’s own compliance overhaul.”

In terms of quantitative analysis, it was revealed that a former bikie was able to purchase $27,000 worth of gold from the Mint using only his driver’s license. Additionally, the Mint saw a staggering $23 billion pass through its doors last year. To improve the Mint’s performance, the government has allocated $34 million for necessary enhancements.

Mint Board chair, Sam Walsh AO, expressed the Mint’s commitment to meeting expectations and maintaining the trust of the community, gold mining sector, business partners, and customers. He stated, “We’re working hard to meet the expectations and maintain the trust of the WA community, the gold mining sector, our business partners, and customers.”

WA Opposition Leader, Shane Love, acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and stated, “It’s put them on notice if you like, that they need to actually get this work done.”

The voluntary undertaking by the Perth Mint to address compliance issues and implement a remediation program demonstrates its commitment to rectifying past shortcomings. With enhanced oversight and the involvement of an independent expert, the Mint aims to rebuild trust and ensure full compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

As the Mint continues its efforts to improve its compliance structures, the outcomes of the Senate inquiry in March will shed further light on the effectiveness of these measures and the future of the Mint’s operations.