Australia is considering tightening its anti-money laundering regulations to include real estate agents and precious stone dealers, following red flags from a global watchdog over potential illicit cash entering the country.
While tighter regulations would not be aimed at inflows from any one country, Australian authorities are reacting following a surge of cash from wealthy Chinese buyers looking for a safe haven away from the market turmoil of their home markets. Purchases of pink diamonds by Chinese have increased. About 70% of Chinese real estate buyers pay in cash.
According to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a lack of scrutiny by Australian authorities in the property and precious stones sectors was “an increasing high risk” in the global fight against money laundering and financing of extremists.
Australia’s Attorney General’s Department, responsible for the country’s law and justice framework, is reviewing its rules to address those concerns, people familiar with the plans said. The rules already cover banking, remittance and gaming.