Federal Senate Committee Hopes to Strike Gold: Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Perth Mint

This is our second publication on the Perth Mint saga. To read our first publication on the recent gold doping scandal and the investigation by Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), click here 

On 22 June 2023, the federal Senate established the Select Committee on the Perth Mint and Commonwealth regulatory compliance. The investigatory Committee’s role is to inquire into, and report on, the corporate and regulatory compliance of Gold Corporation and its trading entity, the Perth Mint, with Commonwealth legislation, including industry laws and regulations. The investigation is to have particular reference to anti-money laundering regulations and the events that led to AUSTRAC ordering the appointment of an external auditor. The committee is to be comprised of seven senators, three from the Liberal Party of Australia, two from the Australian Labor Party, one from the Australian Greens. The committee is slated to deliver its findings by 13 December 2023.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has suggested the federal investigation would be a redundant process, given the investigations already underway, and in particular, “AUSTRAC and the WA government are taking these matters seriously”, and “this motion will not only duplicate this effort but also risks compromising these independent investigations. We do not support a motion that is driven by state politics that would disrespect and undermine due process”. The Select committee faced similar criticism from Premier Roger Cook, who said “it’s extraordinary the amount to which the opposition in Canberra looks to State issues in order to provide themselves with some form of relevance or something to comment on”.

In defence of the committee, Opposition Leader Shane Love said that the state government failed to investigate the alleged breaches by the Perth Mint, and as a result, WA opposition worked with its federal counterparts to bypass the state government in order to investigate the Perth Mint’s regulatory compliance. In particular, Mr Love levied criticism at the WA Labor government for refusing to “investigate matters concerning the Mint because of the possible implications for the former premier and minister for mines and petroleum”.

Lavan comment

In our earlier publication, we opined that the Western Australian Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC), tasked with assessing and investigation allegations of serious misconduct in the public sector in relation to public authorities, may commence an investigation into Perth Mint and the gold doping allegations. At the time of publication, it remains unknown whether the CCC will commence their own investigation. However, given the federal investigation, and the existing AUSTRAC investigation (and the review by the external auditor appointed by AUSTRAC) already underway, it remains to be seen how those investigations will affect and impact each other, and whether the federal investigation will be a waste of resources, or whether the scope of the federal investigation will complement and existing investigations.

For advice on matters relating to corporate crime and regulatory investigations, please contact Cinzia Donald, Partner, Corporate Crime and Investigations Team.

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.