The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) announced on Wednesday it has concluded its investigation into Afterpay, having decided it will not pursue any further regulatory action.

Austrac ordered the appointment of an external auditor into Afterpay’s Australian operations in June last year. Specifically, the regulator asked for the examination of Afterpay’s compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

“In response to the findings and recommendations identified in the external audit report, Afterpay has uplifted its AML/CTF compliance framework and financial crime function, and completed all remediation necessary to ensure compliance,” Austrac wrote on Wednesday.

“After considering the report and the response by Afterpay, Austrac has decided not to undertake further regulatory action.

Austrac said it has “reiterated the importance” for Afterpay to meet its compliance obligations in the future, and that it would continue to work with the company to ensure it understands the compliance obligations it has, as well as its role in fighting financial crime.

See also: Sweeping change: Fintech committee offers ‘quick wins’ fix to Australian ecosystem

The regulator took the opportunity to remind new and emerging financial services businesses that they may have obligations under the AML/CTF Act.  

“Startup ventures and technology-based financial businesses must consider whether they have AML/CTF obligations and if they do put in place systems and controls that identify and mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks,” Austrac said.

Austrac in September asked for a similar investigation of PayPal, with the examination to focus on “ongoing concerns” regarding the Australian arm’s compliance with the AML/CTF Act.

These concerns relate to PayPal Australia’s compliance with its International Funds Transfer Instruction reporting obligations.

However, Austrac in March announced an extension was granted to the auditors, taking into consideration the scope of the audit, the size, and complexity

Environmental, social and governance investing, or ESG investing, has been a growing movement over the last decade. Investor demand for stocks and funds that consider more than just the bottom line is booming.

ESG investing is often associated with excluding energy stocks and sin stocks, but new reporting suggests that perhaps big banks might be larger ESG offenders than the investing public tends to believe.

Recent news reports highlight some startling issues that raise questions about the role of some big banks in global money laundering activities, with suspicious activity reports, or SARs, filed by banks with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN.

The files indicated that some of the world’s biggest banks kept moving money for suspected criminals even after previous prosecutions or fines for misconduct. The troubling client list runs the gamut from alleged narco-traffickers to suspected Ponzi scheme operators, terrorist financiers, plunderers of sovereign wealth funds, money launderers, Russian mob figures and companies skirting sanctions.

The Social Aspect of ESG

This raises questions about whether more big banks are involved or complicit with money laundering – and not just money laundering, but on a massive scale, repeatedly, with criminal clients.

That said, there are qualifications to FinCEN investigations that investors should understand, says Megan Prendergast Millard, senior managing director of financial and regulatory compliance services at Guidepost Solutions.

“Once a SAR is filed, that is not a final determination by the bank that there is criminal activity – that decision is ultimately the responsibility of law enforcement after a thorough investigation of the allegations included in the SAR. Most banks are not intentionally repeatedly doing business with criminal enterprises,” Millard says.

Unfortunately, the government has been largely ineffective in reviewing these SARs, with a shrinking number of staff and more files to review,

Defense lawyer Robert Clark Corrente sought to shift the focus to the Board of Elections investigation that prompted the case against Britt, saying key players had dodged questions, refused to answer subpoenas, and outright lied.

He claimed that documents show “everybody else was lying” to elections officials – including the Mattiello and Lawton campaigns – but the board merely issued warnings to Mattiello and Lawton while urging prosecutors to go after Britt.

“It’s outrageous” Corrente said. “I am going to argue that this entire proceeding from the beginning to end has been highly irregular.”

Corrente’s statement concluded a cross-examination of the state’s final witness, Board of Elections campaign finance director Richard E. Thornton.

Richard Thornton, campaign finance director for the Rhode Island Board of Elections, testifies during the third day the Jeffrey Britt money-laundering trial. [The Providence Journal / David DelPoio]
Richard Thornton, campaign finance director for the Rhode Island Board of Elections, testifies during the third day the Jeffrey Britt money-laundering trial. [The Providence Journal / David DelPoio]David DelPoio

And it served to tee up a dramatic final day of testimony on Thursday, when the defense is expected to call Mattiello to the witness stand in addition to his chief of staff, Leo Skenyon, and his former campaign aide and legal counsel Matthew Jerzyk.

Corrente has maintained that the Mattiello campaign is trying to make Britt “a fall guy.” Mattiello has denied knowing anything about the mailer until much later, casting Britt as an overzealous campaign worker trying to “ingratiate” himself.

The day’s testimony began with Assistant Attorney General John M. Moreira taking Thornton through the relevant sections of campaign finance law and documenting that reporting requirements had not been met for the controversial flier.

Prosecutors claim that Britt, who was working as a consultant for the Mattiello campaign, arranged for two associates – Victor Pichette and Teresa Graham – who each provided $1,000 to Lawton, who had $43 in her campaign account, so she could

FILE- In this Aug. 5, 2019 file photo, Maldives' former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, waves to journalists as he enters the police head quarters after being arrested in Male, Maldives. The former vice president of the Maldives has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to money laundering and embezzlement under orders from the former president.
FILE- In this Aug. 5, 2019 file photo, Maldives’ former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, waves to journalists as he enters the police head quarters after being arrested in Male, Maldives. The former vice president of the Maldives has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to money laundering and embezzlement under orders from the former president.AP

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The former vice president of the Maldives has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to money laundering and embezzlement under orders from the former president.

The Criminal Court on Monday night also fined Ahmed Adeeb $129,800. The prison sentence, which will be shortened by one year because he served time after a previous conviction on the same charges, also covered charges of corruption and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Adeeb was a protege to former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom during the early years of his presidency between 2013 and 2018.


He had been sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2016 for several counts including masterminding a blast in a presidential speedboat in which Yameen’s wife was wounded. He was freed from all charges after Yameen lost reelection in 2018.

Under the new President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, many cases perceived to be politically motivated were revisited.

After his release, Adeeb testified against Yameen in court saying he was party to his former boss’ corrupt dealings and did not worry about being sent to jail again. Charges were refiled, and Adeeb pleaded guilty to all charges, including money laundering, embezzlement and using his prominent position to gain undue advantage.

Yameen is serving a five-year prison term for having facilitated Adeeb to launder $1 million obtained through corrupt

PROVIDENCE — When little-known Democratic political operative Jeffrey T. Britt goes on trial today for money laundering and making an illegal campaign contribution, much of the focus will be on a guy who’s not on trial: House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Jeffrey T. Britt, left, stands with his defense attorney, Robert Clark Corrente, during his arraignment in November 2019, at Kent County Superior Court in Warwick, Rhode Island. Britt, a longtime political strategist, is charged with felony money laundering and making an illegal campaign contribution in the name of another person to support a candidate. (Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal via AP, Pool)


© Bob Breidenbach
Jeffrey T. Britt, left, stands with his defense attorney, Robert Clark Corrente, during his arraignment in November 2019, at Kent County Superior Court in Warwick, Rhode Island. Britt, a longtime political strategist, is charged with felony money laundering and making an illegal campaign contribution in the name of another person to support a candidate. (Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal via AP, Pool)

Britt’s lawyer says that Leo Skenyon, Mattiello’s chief of staff, told Britt to persuade a defeated GOP candidate to endorse Mattiello instead of the candidate from her own party who was seeking to unseat the Speaker in 2016. Britt has pleaded not guilty to the charge that he illegally funneled money to her to pay for a mailer that carried her endorsement.

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If Skenyon knew what he was doing, Britt maintains, then so did the Mattiello campaign.

Of the three men, only Britt is charged. But Britt’s attorney is determined to put Mattiello on trial.

“I think his reputation is in jeopardy,” said Professor Michael J. Yelnosky, former dean of the Roger Williams University School of Law. “His reputation is on trial.”

Mattiello, who has been Speaker since 2014, is arguably the most powerful politician in Rhode Island, and he is among the potential witnesses that Britt’s lawyer could call to the stand in making the case that Mattiello’s campaign made Britt the “fall guy.”

So Courtroom 4E at the Kent County courthouse won’t be the setting for some obscure campaign finance case. Rather, it will be the focus of the media spotlight, and