CBA agrees to resolve AUSTRAC proceedings

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has entered an agreement with AUSTRAC, the Government’s financial intelligence agency, to resolve civil proceedings commenced against the bank in August last year.

The agreement, which involved CBA paying a $700 million penalty and AUSTRAC’s legal costs, remains subject to Court approval.

Also, CBA has admitted further contraventions of Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Act, and AUSTRAC’s civil proceedings are otherwise dismissed.

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CBA’s chief executive officer, Matt Comyn, said the agreement brought certainty to one of the most significant issues the bank had faced.

“While not deliberate, we fully appreciate the seriousness of the mistakes we made. Our agreement today is a clear acknowledgement of our failures and is an important step towards moving the bank forward,” said Comyn.

“Banks have a critical role to play in combating financial crime and protecting the integrity of the financial system. In reaching this position, we have also agreed with AUSTRAC that we will work closely together based on an open and constructive approach.”

Comyn said the bank was committed to making significant changes to improve risk management and compliance at the bank, including changing senior leadership in the key roles overseeing financial crimes compliance.

“We have started implementing our response to the recommendations provided to us by our prudential regulator, APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), to ensure our governance, culture and accountability frameworks and practices meet the high standards expected of us.”


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