12 September 2016 - Austria has an overall sound legal and institutional anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) framework, but improvements are still needed in national policy coordination, assessment of risk, and targeted financial sanctions. Austria also needs to improve its effectiveness in applying these and a range of other measures, as detailed below.
The FATF conducted an assessment of Austria’s AML/CFT system, based on the 2012 FATF Recommendations, and using the 2013 Methodology. The assessment is a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of Austria’s AML/CFT system and its level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations.
Austria has a good understanding of the terrorist financing risks, and its CFT system exhibits many characteristics of an effective system for investigating and prosecuting those involved in terrorist activities. But, despite its position as an international financial centre, Austria does not pursue money laundering and confiscation as a priority.
In general, the Financial Market Authority has a sound understanding of money laundering and terrorist financing risks present in the institutions it supervises. Based on this understanding, it has developed strategies using supervisory tools to risk-rate the institutions it regulates. However, a lack of adequate resources, especially related to the supervision of higher risk credit institutions, limits the effective implementation of these strategies.
The Austrian financial intelligence unit (A-FIU) functions well as an investigation unit for predicate offences and associated money laundering but not as a financial intelligence unit. The A-FIU conducts only very basic operational analysis and does not conduct any strategic analysis to support the operational needs of competent authorities. The available IT tools do not enable A-FIU to cross-match suspicious transaction reports or conduct data-mining to find trends and patterns across them. The A-FIU also does not conduct analysis of terrorist financing-related suspicious transactions.
Austria demonstrates many characteristics of an effective system for international co-operation related to ML and associated predicate offences. Austria’s money laundering offence is generally comprehensive and in line with relevant international instruments. Austria also has a generally comprehensive framework for police powers and provisional and confiscation measures. Austria provides assistance to countries who request it, and the Austrian authorities regularly ask their foreign counterparts for information and evidence.
This report was adopted by the FATF at its Plenary meeting in June 2016.