Australians almost never get real information from the police about the real fight against organized crime, money laundering and corruption that come with these two evils.
Indeed, police departments tend not to annoy governments and reluctantly accept the line that crime and corruption are well under control.
Comments by NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith – during December briefings for senior NSW officials – blast that twist. According to Smith, modern organized crime is one step ahead of the police, with cartel bosses as wealthy as FRG wealthy advertisers and with the enablers (lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and corrupt insiders) and technology (encrypted phones, cryptocurrency wallets) to stay that way.
Smith was honest and ruthless about failing policies and resources that empower bad guys. He criticized the failure of the federal anti-money laundering agency Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) to tackle organized crime more aggressively, and blasted his own government‘s failure to address concerns. from the police about the problems.
Although Smith did not directly address the federal government‘s failure to introduce longstanding anti-money laundering reforms targeting lawyers and accountants, he repeatedly said that some in those two professions were helping crime bosses to get away with money laundering. This is precisely what the stalled “tranche 2 reforms” are aiming for.
The Sydney Morning Herald and age has executed Smith’s comments by several state and federal law enforcement officials, and all agree with his general sentiments (although some officials warn that it may be foolish to follow the more aggressive laws of Western Australia on proceeds of crime, being concerned about their impacts on civil liberty) . Likewise, there isn’t a high-ranking state or federal law enforcement officer who thinks a national anti-corruption commission that can more effectively combat corruption fueled by organized crime isn’t necessary. It’s just that no one feels politically brave enough to say so.
The federal anti-corruption agency, the Australian Law Enforcement Integrity Commission, still relies far too heavily on the Australian Federal Police to root out corruption linked to organized crime. For its part, the AFP is fed up with being manipulated into politically linked integrity cases much better suited to a body like the Independent Commission against Corruption. AFP wants to preserve its resources to fight serious transnational organized crime – the crooks, according to Smith, are cashed in and out of control.
Perhaps even more telling than Smith’s insights are the comments of NSW cabinet minister Victor Dominello. According to detailed notes from Smith’s briefings, Dominello told Smith that the public would be horrified if they knew of the extent of organized crime and money laundering across Australia and would rightly demand more action by politicians.