The Commonwealth Government is establishing a new taskforce to fight serious and organised financial crime.
This type of crime poses a genuine threat to national security and to the integrity of Australia’s economy, financial markets, regulatory frameworks and tax revenue collection.
The Government will provide $127.6 million over four years for investigations and prosecutions that will address superannuation and investment fraud, identity crime and tax evasion.
The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce includes the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police, Attorney-General's Department, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and Australian Customs and Border Protection Services.
The Taskforce will build on the good work already done by Project Wickenby which finishes in 2015. It will enable the best practice and experience gained to be continued, and for agencies to extend their cooperative work across the broader serious financial crime risk.
Project Wickenby has so far raised over $2.1 billion in liabilities, as well as increased tax collections from improved compliance behaviour following interventions.
Ongoing investigations and prosecutions have resulted in substantial sentences and strong deterrent messages in the sentencing judgments. To date, 76 individuals have been charged with serious offences and there have been 44 criminal convictions.
The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce will have an unquantifiable positive benefit on the financial wellbeing of members of the community who, without the Taskforce, may be victims of financial crime. It will also help ensure all taxpayers pay their fair share of tax.