The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) is a multi-agency taskforce that forms part of the Australian Federal Police led Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre. The SFCT has been established to bring together the knowledge, resources and experiences of federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to identify and address serious and complex financial crimes. Agencies forming the SFCT include:
- Australian Federal Police (AFP)
- Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)
- Attorney-General's Department (AGD)
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP)
- Australian Border Force (ABF)
The SFCT builds on the success of Project Wickenby, which as at 30 June 2015 has resulted in the conviction and sentencing of 46 individuals and the recovery of over $985 million in outstanding revenue. This includes $607 million in cash collections, $372 million from increased voluntary compliance and $5 million in assets recovered under Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime provisions.
While Project Wickenby focused on tackling offshore tax evasion and crime, the SFCT will have a broader remit to target the highest priority of serious financial crimes. These priorities will include international tax evasion and criminality related to fraudulent phoenix activity, trusts and superannuation. Phoenix fraud involves a company deliberately liquidating assets to avoid paying creditors, taxes and employee entitlements.
The SFC Taskforce will focus on operational activities, collect and share intelligence, and identify reform measures with the aim to remove wealth from criminal activity, prosecute facilitators and promoters of serious financial crime and deploy deterrent and preventative enforcement strategies.