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AUSTRAC v CBA Sonja Marsic

AGS helped AUSTRAC on largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history

On 4 June 2018, an agreement was reached between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) for a $700 million penalty to resolve Federal Court proceedings relating to serious breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. The case involved the misuse of bank channels and products by sophisticated money laundering syndicates and customers assessed as posing a possible terrorism or terrorism-financing risk.

The parties will jointly approach the Federal Court seeking orders to this effect. It is anticipated that a hearing on penalty will be scheduled in the coming months. If agreed by the Federal Court this will represent the largest ever civil penalty in Australian corporate history. Read more

Jackson Wherrett Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30

AGS’s Jackson Wherrett wins place in Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30

On Friday 18 May 2018, Jackson Wherrett of AGS’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) was announced a winner in the Government category at the Lawyers Weekly ‘30 Under 30’ Awards. The event, celebrated at Sydney’s Hyatt Regency by over 500 of the ‘legal profession’s finest’, according to Lawyers Weekly, gives industry-wide recognition to the ‘top talent being exuded by those under 30 years of age’.

Two awards were announced for each of 15 categories, ranging from banking and finance, and dispute resolution to government, pro bono and technology, media and telecommunications, making up the ’30 Under 30’. Read more

Matt Walsh Tax Institute

AGS's Matt Walsh speaks at The Tax Institute

AGS’s Special Counsel Tax Disputes Matt Walsh presented a paper on ‘Tax deeds’ to The Tax Institute’s 4th national infrastructure conference, held over Thursday 17 and Friday 18 May 2018 in Melbourne. There were 180 attendees, making it the most well attended of the Institute’s national infrastructure conferences held to date.

The Tax Institute provides a forum for its members to share their knowledge and experience, with the membership including tax professionals in industry, academia, government and public practice throughout Australia. The Institute’s national infrastructure conferences are held annually, and focus on the tax issues arising for investors in Australian and overseas infrastructure projects. Read more

Olivia Ronan Golden Gavel

AGS Graduate wins ACT Golden Gavel

On Monday 14 May at the Great Hall in University House at the Australian National University, AGS Graduate Olivia Ronan won the ACT Golden Gavel as part of the launch of Law Week.

Up against a field that included 2 other young lawyers from the APS and 3 from commercial law firms in Canberra, Olivia shone with her speech topic, ‘Swipe right, I am a lawyer’. Read more

Recent promotions in-house Counsel team

AGS’s In-house Counsel team

While a large number of AGS Dispute Resolution lawyers routinely appear as solicitor–advocates, we also have specialist advocates who are regularly briefed to appear as counsel by both AGS and private firms.

Chief Counsel Dispute Resolution Tom Howe PSM QC is our most senior and experienced counsel. But AGS Dispute Resolution is expanding its pool of practitioners who practice principally as counsel and we have recently added [above] Irene Sekler, Peter Melican and Sarah Wright to the in-house counsel team which includes Tom and Senior General Counsel Tim Begbie, Andrew Berger, Peter Macliver and Damien O’Donovan. Read more

Promotions OGC

Recent senior appointments in OGC

AGS is proud to announce 4 senior executive promotions for lawyers in our Office of General Counsel. They demonstrate a wide range of experience and proven skills in both advisory and litigation roles. We welcome them to our senior ranks and commend them to our clients.

Senior General Counsel Adam Cason (left) advises on constitutional law, statutory interpretation, administrative law and legislative development. He has experience in developing and implementing complex legislation, such as the regulatory framework for the structural reform of the telecommunications industry and amendments to the telecommunications-specific access arrangements under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. He has also provided constitutional advice on the risk associated with spending programs following the decisions in Williams (No. 1) and (No.2), as well as issues in implementing cost recovery for environmental impact assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Read more

Promotions Tax team

Recent senior appointments to AGS tax practice

AGS’s Tax team leader, Jane Lye, is delighted to welcome a new tax law specialist, Lee Benjamin (left), who brings added depth in international taxation law to our practice. Jane is also pleased to announce the recent promotion of Matthew Walsh (right) to Special Counsel, recognising his vast experience within our tax practice.

Senior Executive Lawyer Lee Benjamin has substantial experience in taxation. He has previously led the tax practice at an international law firm in Hong Kong and China. As a private practice tax lawyer, Lee focused on advisory and disputes matters – designing, implementing and defending tax strategies for operations and transactions involving Australia, Asia and beyond. Read more

Events coming soon

Administrative law

Canberra, 5-6 June 2018

PID Act for authorised officers

Melbourne, 14 June 2018

FOI next steps

Canberra, 28 June 2018


AGS magazine – Issue 3: 2017

Legal briefing 109 – Interacting with parliamentary committees (23 August 2017)

Litigation notes 27 (17 November 2017)

Express law 269 – Department of Communications and the Arts invites submissions on its review of the Copyright Act 1968 – 7 May 2018

Last week in Parliament Issue 75 (29–31 May 2018)