Press Releases issued by the Academy, by members and partners in 2008-2009 appear below.
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August 10, 2017
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia’s largest company, has had a motion filed against it by the Australian Transactions and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) claiming that the CBA had failed to comply with Australia’s strict laundering and counter terrorism financing laws.
The motion before the Federal Court of Australia alleges that there have been 53,500 contraventions of the AML/CTF laws since 2012. The majority of the transactions occurred as a result of the CBA’s introduction of Intelligent Deposit Machines (IDMs) that accept cash and cheque deposits. The machines were targeted by money laundering syndicates and crime gangs wanting to move money offshore. In one case between November 2014 and August 2015 cash deposits totaling $27.2 million were made to one account and then immediately transferred offshore. The motion claims that the deposits were the proceeds of a drug importing and manufacturing syndicate.
AUSTRAC said that for a period of 3 years CBA did not comply with the requirements of its AML/CTF program relating to the monitoring of 780,000 accounts. It also alleges that the bank failed to report suspicious matters either on time or at all involving transactions totaling more than $77 million. AUSTRAC is taking civil action against CBA for “serious and systemic non-compliance” with the relevant legislation. The law allows for fines up to $18 million per breach which means that the potential cost could be close to $1 trillion.
Had this action taken place in the United States CBA directors would be liable for criminal charges and imprisonment, a fact which prompted HSBC Bank to accept a fine of almost $2 billion rather than risk losing a criminal action. One immediate response from the CBA has been to eliminate all executive bonuses for this financial year. However, it is clear that potential criminal charges in some jurisdictions should be an additional motivator for senior management to place greater emphasis on compliance than currently exists.
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