Experts warn ‘inconsistent’ laws make luxury goods an easy target for money-laundering

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A professor of criminal law, Liz Campbell as referred to the Anti-money laundering and terrorist financing as being weak and ineffective because, despite the efforts made by law enforcement agencies, Australia still loses $10-$15 billion to money laundering each year. Liz further said that the anti-money laundering laws were inconsistent because they do not address all sectors at risk; most especially, luxury goods like watches and jewellery as they have no regulation like property transactions.

Starting from January 2020, the EU has compelled luxury goods and antique dealers to report untrusted transactions, however, Professor Liz said that addressing this in one sector or country does not completely eliminate the crimes but curb it. The Australian Federal Police seized jewellery, cars, and other luxury goods worth $8.5 million that was allegedly being laundered in Australia. Russell Wilson, a director of the Australian branch of Transparency International also confirmed the weakness of the laws as dealers in luxury goods are not obliged to know the source of funds or report suspicious funds.

In addition to comments made by other professors, the Financial Action Force, a body responsible for combating money laundering said that criminals are creative in their acts, they are constantly looking for new ways to launder money and can include the purchase of high-value luxury goods. Referring to the $23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws against Westpac, Ronald Pol, a senior researcher at LaTrobe University said the laws failed and banks do not comply with reporting rules.