Gaping loopholes, earnest advisers and an international reputation for stability have made Australia a place of choice for illicit funds. Despite a crackdown on the foreign ownership of established houses, there are still many ways for crooks to score a piece of the action, no matter which government is in power, writes Nathan Lynch in an extract from his book The Lucky Laundry – how the Aussie economy got hooked on the world’s dirtiest cash.Lights out and blinds drawn on the Australian dream as black money fuels house prices – Michael West
The Morrison government’s reluctance to reduce and prevent corruption, to shine light in dark places, is not limited to its rejection of a genuine federal integrity commission – it’s also running dead on disclosing corrupt foreign money being invested and laundered here. That was the key local angle in Monday night’s Four Corners story on the Pandora Papers – the government’s failure to deliver on a repeated commitment to introduce a beneficial ownership register.
A Scottish court on Wednesday gave activists the green light to continue their effort to use an anti–money laundering statute to investigate the financing of Donald Trump’s golf courses in the country.
AUSTRAC has held Australia’s largest companies to account while other regulators with vastly more resources cowered and eyed the “revolving door” of private sector jobs. In the past three years, AUSTRAC has delivered taxpayers more than $2 billion in penalties for anti-money laundering breaches. One would expect the regulator to be riding a wave of political support. Not so, writes Nathan Lynch. The power of the lawyers’, accountants’ and real estate lobbies continue to have it hobbled.AUSTRAC muzzled in Peter Dutton’s ministry as Australia defies global money-laundering authorities – Michael West
As Australia is a global pariah on climate change, it is a pariah for not cracking down on money laundering and financial crime that facilitates child exploitation and terrorism. But with the Greens’ amendment to the anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing bill to be debated this week, Labor, the Coalition and the cross-bench senators will have to decide: are they owned by the powerful property, accountancy and legal industries or not? Tasha May reports.Money-laundering bill finally back in Parliament despite fight by Law Council, property lobby – Michael West
The billion-dollar question is: How much of that filthy lucre has circulated through Donald Trump’s business empire?
Is Trump a Launderer?
Before he became president, Donald Trump was basically an unsuccessful businessman who managed, time and again, to fail upward. He filed for bankruptcy six times — five times for his casinos and once for the Plaza Hotel.
He’s been involved in several high-profile and very expensive investments that ultimately didn’t go forward: the West Side Yards in New York City, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Dubai, Trump Towers Rio, Trump Ocean Resort in Baja, Mexico, and several shady real-estate deals in Florida.
An astounding number of his other business ventures have gone belly up too, including Trump Airlines, Trump University, and Trump Magazine.
Trump’s business failures over the years and his unorthodox financial behavior pushed him to the margins of the financial world. Only one institution, Deutsche Bank, continued to supply him with credit. Otherwise, Trump began to rely on some questionable characters and networks. He created baroque financial arrangements involving shell companies. He used pseudonyms on contracts. He became squirrely about his tax returns.