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UPDATE 1-Australia examining Paypal for money laundering, terror law compliance

Colin Packham

compliance@ (Updates throughout with more detail)

SYDNEY, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Australia's financial intelligence agency on Tuesday ordered the appointment of an external auditor to examine Paypal Australias compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

AUSTRAC said the order was given amid concerns about Paypal Australia's compliance with obligations to report international fund transfers, which provide the agency with intelligence to to combat serious crimes.

"Regulated businesses like PayPal Australia, who facilitate payments and transactions for millions of Australian customers every year, play a critical role in helping AUSTRAC and our law enforcement partners stop the movement of money to criminals and terrorists," AUSTRAC Chief Executive Nicole Rose said in a statement.

"PayPal is an important partner in the fight against crime," she added. "However, when we suspect non-compliance AUSTRAC will take action to protect the Australian community."

Paypal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The external auditor, whose work will be financed by Paypal, must report to AUSTRAC within 120 days of being appointed, the regulator said.

A preliminary report from a separate review ordered by AUSTRAC into buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay Touch Group in June, citing suspected non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, was due to be handed to AUSTRAC on Tuesday.

AUSTRAC and Afterpay did not immediately respond to questions about that review.

Australian regulators are under sustained pressure after the Royal Commission inquiry into financial sector misconduct widely condemned the performance of regulators. The Royal Commission found that when misconduct was revealed, it either went unpunished or the regulator consequences did not reflect the seriousness of what had been done.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Kim Coghill and Jane Wardell)