Update on recent enforcement action and ongoing proceedings

06 June 2024

We have set out below a brief update in relation to recent enforcement action taken by Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the status of AUSTRAC’s ongoing civil penalty proceedings.

Recent enforcement action

On 7 March 2024, AUSTRAC announced that it had commenced an enforcement investigation into Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Limited (Bet365) (link to the announcement here), which follows AUSTRAC’s review of an external audit report that was required to be undertaken by Bet365 pursuant to s 162(2) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) (AML/CTF Act).

On 18 March 2024, AUSTRAC also issued 8 infringement notices to various reporting entities for failing to lodge an annual compliance report for the reporting period 1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022 prior to 31 March 2023 in contravention of section 47(2) of the AML/CTF Act. The penalty payable under the infringement notices was $16,500 to the corporate reporting entities and $3,300 to sole traders.

Ongoing civil penalty proceedings

The Star

At a case management conference before his Honour Justice Lee on 12 March 2024, the parties were ordered to file an agreed (or failing agreement, competing documents):

  1. list of disputed issues;
  2. document containing proposed questions for a referee in relation to any issues of fact which remain in dispute; and
  3. an agreed document containing proposed questions to be answered by each parties independent AML/CTF expert or alternatively a Court appointed expert, in relation to the issues which remain in dispute.

Subsequently, the proceeding was set down for hearing for three weeks commencing on 2 June 2025.


AUSTRAC has reported that on 17 May 2024, SkyCity and AUSTRAC filed joint submissions with the Federal Court of Australia, proposing a $67 million penalty and, in reaching this agreement, SkyCity has admitted that it operated in contravention of the AML/CTF Act, including that:

  1. its AML/CTF Programs did not meet the requirements of the AML/CTF Act and AML/CTF Rules, in contravention of section 81; and
  2. it did not carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence with respect to certain higher risk customers and customers transacting through higher risk channels, in contravention of section 36.

The matter has been set down for hearing on 7 June 2024 at which his Honour Justice Lee will consider the parties’ joint submissions and proposed penalty.

This article was written by Polat Siva, Partner, Neil Perl, Special Counsel, and Rebecca Young, Associate.

Neil Perl

Special Counsel | Melbourne

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