AFP logo at EBB Canberra

Money laundering and financial crime

Protecting the security and safety of the Australian economy, people and businesses
    About this crime type

    About this crime

    The AFP investigates and prosecutes money laundering and serious financial crimes that affect the Commonwealth.

    These crimes are connected with serious and organised crime, including:

    These crimes may also be connected to:

    We only investigate financial crimes that affect the Commonwealth of Australia.

    Money laundering taskforce tackles lifeblood of organised crime

    We are part of the multiagency Taskforce Avarus targeting Australian and offshore organised criminals who are laundering billions of dollars through Australia's financial system and property market.

    Our work

    In Australia, Commonwealth money laundering offences fall under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). State and territory police also investigate money laundering offences under state and territory criminal legislation. The AFP can also restrain assets linked to someone who commits a crime under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).

    We work with state and territory police services and international law enforcement to combat money laundering and financial crimes. We also work closely with other Australian agencies, like the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), which collects financial intelligence and regulates part of the financial system.

    Money laundering

    Money laundering is the lifeblood of organised crime. Operation Avarus is the AFP's national anti-money laundering strategy. We also have Taskforce Avarus, which investigates the most serious money laundering cases. Our partners in Taskforce Avarus are:

    • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
    • Australian Border Force
    • AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre).

    International organisations

    We work with international organisations that aim to combat money laundering and financial crime:

    Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) 

    Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) .

    Australia is a founding member of the APG. Through the APG, we have a role in:

    • global policy development
    • research and analysis
    • other matters related to money laundering and terrorism funding in our region.

    The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. As part of the FATF, we ensure Australia operates to globally recognised standards. This helps us prevent and interrupt money laundering operations.

    Learn more about money laundering.

    Serious and organised crime

    We undertake regular actions to disrupt and investigate serious and organised crime. We want to create a hostile environment for criminals in this country.

    We continuously work to disrupt criminals':

    • finances
    • communications
    • operations and logistics.

    This work includes:

    • using forensics to identify the quality and origin of drugs and other chemicals
    • undertaking intelligence and surveillance
    • coordinating covert operations, including undercover sources and witness protection
    • working with overseas partners to target criminal syndicates and stop crimes before they reach our shores.

    This includes disrupting the drug trade.

    Overall, we work to take the profit out of these crimes. Our efforts to combat money laundering are essential to stopping serious and organised crime in Australia.

    Learn more about serious and organised crime.

    Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce

    The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) is a Commonwealth initiative to identify and remove profits from serious and organised crime.

    We lead the CACT, working alongside:

    • Australian Border Force
    • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
    • Australian Tax Office.

    The CACT uses a mix of intelligence, operations, legal and other specialist resources to identify and confiscate money and assets gained through illegal activities.

    Its actions include:

    • identifying property gained through illegal activities and investigating potential criminal conduct
    • restraining property through court orders
    • conducting further investigation, and confiscating property after the legal process
    • banking the proceeds of confiscated property into Australia's Confiscated Assets Account.

    The Confiscated Assets Account funds programs and activities that combat crime in Australia. The funds can also be shared with other jurisdictions to recognise their work with us.

    Counterfeit currency

    We are the lead agency responsible for prosecuting currency-related matters in Australia. We work alongside the Reserve Bank of Australia, which examines suspected counterfeit paper money.

    State and territory police can also seize and prosecute suspected counterfeit currency.

    Learn more about counterfeit currency.

    Report a crime or concern

    We can investigate Commonwealth crimes (sometimes called federal crimes) and crimes that take place in the Australian Capital Territory. What best describes the crime you want to report or what you want to tell us about?

    How to report

    Before submitting a report read our money laundering and financial crime-related information to report accurately

    You can report suspected criminal activity by filling out our
    Report a crime form

    If you think a business or not-for-profit is doing something illegal, it may not be reportable to the AFP. Find out where to make complaints about companies, organisations or people on the
    Australian Securities and Investment Commission website

    Join us

    Help us protect Australia and Australian interests and stay a step ahead of international criminal networks.

    We are always looking for highly motivated, forward-thinking people to help us combat financial crimes and money laundering.

    You can choose from a variety of challenging and rewarding roles.

    If you have tertiary accountancy qualifications, you may be suitable for a forensic accountant role.

    If you're interested in fighting online crime, a cybercrime investigator role may suit you.

    We also employ intelligence officers and analysts to support complex investigations. You'll need advanced research and analytical skills and experience or tertiary qualifications in policing, law enforcement or criminal intelligence.

    Find out more about these roles:

    You can apply for positions when they are advertised on our Jobs portal.

    Specialist and support

    Analyst or officer – Intelligence Operations

    Specialist and support

    Forensic accountant

    Police and PSOs

    Police officer – national policing