Featured Philippines

Manila Vice: Xi and Duterte grapple with online casino crime

With its marble walls, gilded lobby and sign with Chinese characters that can mean “paradise on earth,” the Skytop International Club never tried to be subtle. Opened last year on the fringes of the Makati business district, Manila’s Wall Street, the club became known as a place where men would… Read More

BPI, other banks under probe for ties to money laundering scandal in Australia

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it will be probing about 10 banks to assess their ties with an Australian bank caught in a massive money laundering scandal. At the center of the inquiry is the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), which is the remittance partner of Westpac,… Read More

Westpac hit with shareholder class action lawsuit following AUSTRAC scandal

Westpac has confirmed it has been served with its first shareholder class action lawsuit following the money laundering scandal that threw the lender into turmoil and cost former chief executive Brian Hartzer his position at the bank. Specialist class action law firm Phi Finney McDonald will allege the country’s… Read More
13th December 2019
Westpac Banking Corp on Thursday became the biggest Australian company to have shareholders vote down its executive pay for a second year, at a marathon annual meeting dominated by investor outrage over a child exploitation payments scandal. The “second strike” delivers a symbolic blow to the country’s oldest bank and… Read More
10th December 2019
A looming settlement between Westpac and the anti-money laundering regulator is being delayed by arguments between the bank and Austrac over whether responsibility for the child exploitation scandal rests with the company’s board and senior executives or its middle management, a court has heard. At the first case management hearing… Read More
6th December 2019
As the fallout from Westpac’s massive money-laundering scandal continues, compliance officers would be well advised to spend some time reviewing how the bank’s troubles began. For that, we can turn to AUSTRAC’s recent civil action against the lender alleging over 23-million breaches of domestic AML/CTF legislation, each carrying a maximum fine… Read More
28th November 2019
More directors may depart Westpac’s board following an investigation of the bank’s money laundering and child exploitation scandal by consulting firm Promontory. Westpac’s board will also set up a new financial crime committee, chairman Lindsay Maxsted said. Investor pressure following bombshell legal action launched by… Read More
28th November 2019
Westpac Banking Corp’s experienced anti-money laundering chief was told she didn’t have the skills for the job and would have to take a more junior role after informing the bank that it faced the largest fine in corporate history, industry sources said. Amanda Wood, Westpac’s money-laundering reporting officer, led the… Read More
27th November 2019
The call came in while two criminal investigators for the Internal Revenue Service sat at a Bangkok airport gate in July 2017, waiting for a flight. A confidential source they knew from past investigations was offering a tip that a new website was selling child pornography in exchange for bitcoin. Read More
26th November 2019
The Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer has resigned and chairman Lindsay Maxsted will step down early following the money-laundering scandal involving allegations the bank failed to stop transactions with the Philippines involving child exploitation. Hartzer will be paid $2.69m for doing nothing for the next 12 months while serving… Read More
26th November 2019
Westpac has released its response plan to the AML/CTF issues raised by AUSTRAC last week as it launched civil penalty proceedings against the bank. According to AUSTRAC’s statement of claim, Westpac contravened the AML/CTF laws on 23 million instances between 2013 to and 2019. Among the bank’s failures, AUSTRAC… Read More
25th November 2019
The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, says the banking regulator is looking at disqualifying the Westpac board for accountability failings which may have helped facilitate child exploitation. The financial intelligence agency, Austrac, announced it had begun legal action against Westpac last week, levelling accusations the bank had more than 23m… Read More
22nd November 2019
The Australian anti-money laundering (AML) regulator’s case against Westpac for more than 23 million alleged reporting breaches will shine an international spotlight on SWIFT data reporting avoidance. Anti-money laundering experts have said the case will provide an unprecedented view into the processes that banks put in place to circumvent the… Read More