AUSTRAC expands penalty case against CBA

15 December 2017

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is expanding its civil penalty case against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), filing a further 100 alleged contraventions identified in relation to its ongoing investigation into the big bank’s proceedings.

AUSTRAC chief executive, Nicole Rose said the identified contraventions added to the 53,800 already identified against the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and exemplified serious systemic non-compliance over a period of more than six years.

The financial intelligence and regulatory body’s additional allegations include:

  • In six instances additional to those in the original statement of claim, the bank did not comply with the requirements of its own AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage the ML/TF risks associated with intelligent deposit machines (IDMs).
  • Even after the bank became aware of suspected terrorism financing, money laundering and/or structuring on its accounts, in 38 instances it did not appropriately monitor its customers to mitigate and manage ML/TF risk.
  • CBA failed to report two suspicious matters within 24 hours of forming a suspicion relating to the financing of terrorism.
  • CBA failed to report 54 suspicious matters either on time or at all in relation to accounts and individuals that were the subject of two further law enforcement operations.
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In a statement, CBA confirmed it regretted its failure to comply with obligations and confirmed plans to increase the rigour of its Program of Action to expand compliance round ML/TF and strengthen its regulatory compliance practices around financial crime.

“CBA will review the amended statement of claim and update the market as appropriate. We will file an amended defence in due course,” the statement said.

 “We will continue to work closely with regulators across those jurisdictions in which it operates to fight financial crime.”

AUSTRAC confirmed that the maximum penalty for an individual contravention alleged in the amended statement of claim was up to $21 million.

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