Australia’s Westpac reveals findings from compliance review By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian looks at his phone as he walks past a logo for Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp located outside a branch in central Sydney

(Reuters) – Australian lender Westpac Banking Corp (AX:) on Thursday blamed “faults of omission” and “not intentional wrongdoing” for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

Last November, Australian regulator AUSTRAC filed a civil lawsuit, accusing the bank of presiding over 23 million payments that violated anti-money laundering protocols, including those made by Australians to child pornography purveyors in the Philippines.

The country’s second-largest bank last month admitted to charges of breaching money laundering laws, but denied accusations it enabled illegal payments between known child sex offenders.

Unclear accountabilities as well as a lack of understanding and expertise caused compliance failures, the company said in a statement.

The bank, which concluded its investigation into issues raised by AUSTRAC, said that the failure to correctly report international transfer of funds was due to a mix of technology and human error going back more than a decade.

“Consequences that have been applied to individuals include significant remuneration impacts and disciplinary actions,” Westpac Chief Executive Officer Peter King said. “A number of relevant staff had already left the company.”

The allegations from the regulator have led to a string of senior management changes at the company, including the chief executive and chairman roles. Earlier this week, the bank announced that the head of its institutional bank was retiring.

A report from the advisory panel review into the charges noted that the directors could have recognised the systemic nature of the crimes the bank was facing earlier.

Westpac said it would continue to engage with AUSTRAC on the legal process.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.