In this week’s instalment of citizen journalism, RCA Group risk manager Paul Mulligan claims hoteliers are not taking their Anti Money Laundering & Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) responsibilities seriously.
“In 2006 the AML/CTF Financing Act came into place for the financial sector including hotels and clubs. Over the past couple of years AUSTRAC has focused predominately on the financial sector; however they are now expecting hotels and clubs to be compliant.
It is frightening how many hoteliers believe that they only have to be registered with AUSTRAC and lodge their annual return. Other hoteliers I have spoken to are using outdated material from around three years ago.
Then there are venue managers out there that have other things in place that I have reviewed but AUSTRAC would not see as adequate. We have helped them out and got things compliant.
I have spoken to a number of venues who have ‘ticked boxes’ on their annual compliance report not really knowing (legitimately) what they were answering. This is very dangerous and can potentially attract serious fines and possible imprisonment.
Another ‘scary’ story that I have heard from a number of venues is that ‘their accountant has lodged their documents and said everything is in place”. Prior to contacting these people I have personally spoken to staff in these venues who have advised me they have had no training and do not have a program in place and in many cases have not heard about AML/CTF.
Over the past 4-6 weeks we have been getting an increasing number of enquiries from hoteliers and clubs and we have implemented our solution that has been written by our legal counsel.
I personally believe that some hoteliers are ignorant and others just have put it in the ‘two hard’ baskets hoping they are not going to be subject to an audit.
There has also been reported that some 300 notices have gone out to venues to produce exhibits of their programs to AUSTRAC.
There has been one of our industry clients who have been subject to an external audit which has cost them in excess of $25,000 and is ongoing.
The question venue managers need to really ask themselves can at the least we afford an expense of $25,000 should we be subject to an audit or at the worst a massive fine.”
The RCA Group’s bigger clients include: St George Leagues Club, NLG Group, Thomas Group, Riversdale Group and the Bayfield Hotels Group.
For more on anti-money laundering laws, click here.