Westpac is to pay A$1.3 billion, by far Australia’s biggest-ever corporate fine for breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
The 93-page statement of agreed facts and admissions prepared by Westpac and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) says Westpac contravened the Act more than 23 million times exposing Australia’s financial system to criminal exploitation.
It failed to pass on information to authorities about the origin of international funds transfers, and failed to pass on information to other banks in the transfer chain who needed to manage their own money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
“Westpac failed to identify activity potentially indicative of child exploitation risks by failing to implement appropriate transaction monitoring detection scenarios,” the agreed statement says.
“Three of the customers the subject of these proceedings had prior convictions relating to child exploitation offences.”
“One of these customers has been arrested in relation to further child exploitation offences since the commencement of these proceedings.
- ^ Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (www.austrac.gov.au)
- ^ statement of agreed facts and admissions (cdn.theconversation.com)
- ^ Westpac and AUSTRAC, Agreed Statement of Facts and Admissions (cdn.theconversation.com)
- ^ 76,000 additional contraventions (www.austrac.gov.au)
- ^ late last year (theconversation.com)
- ^ How Westpac is alleged to have broken anti-money laundering laws 23 million times (theconversation.com)
- ^ A$700 million (www.austrac.gov.au)
- ^ International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (www.icij.org)
- ^ International Consortium of Investigative Journalists interactive (www.icij.org)
- ^ US$122.1 million (www.icij.org)
- ^ US$42.1 million (www.icij.org)
- ^ BuzzFeed (www.buzzfeednews.com)
- ^ banking royal commission (financialservices.royalcommission.gov.au)
- ^ Westpac's scandal highlights a system failing to deter corporate wrongdoing (theconversation.com)
- ^ G20 Financial Stability Board (corporatefinanceinstitute.com)
- ^ Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (www.fsb-tcfd.org)
- ^ conduit for serious crimes (cdn.theconversation.com)
Authors: Thomas Clarke, Professor, UTS Business, University of Technology Sydney