19 Aug 2019
The nation’s anti-money laundering regulator warns it is likely to take more action against Australia’s top financial institutions after being “flooded” with reports of potential breaches following its landmark case against the Commonwealth Bank.
Austrac chief executive Nicole Rose said the 2017 case against CBA over its mass breach of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws – which resulted in a record fine of $700 million – had triggered a sharp lift in “self-disclosure” from the companies it regulates.
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Ms Rose said the financial crimes regulator would have a “very busy” year ahead of it. She said Austrac would use various measures, including legal action and fines, to bring miscreant financial institutions to heel.
“There’s loads of self-disclosure, which means there’s a lot for us to go through, and we’re going to have a very busy 12 months because there will be actions that come out of it,” Ms Rose said.
Ms Rose’s comments come as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tells business leaders at a breakfast on Monday that they are “on notice” and the “public’s tolerance has been exhausted” following the banking royal commission.
Pledging to legislate all of the recommendations from the banking probe by the end of 2020, Mr Frydenberg will direct 75 per cent of Treasury’s legislative agenda and commit $10 million to get up to 40 pieces of legislation through Parliament over the next year.
“Implementing the recommendations of the royal commission is critical to restoring trust and confidence in Australia’s financial system,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Businesses regulated by Austrac include banks, money remittance firms, online payments platforms, and casinos. Ms Rose would not say what types of institutions were facing action, or if any of the big four banks would be affected, and she also praised banks for being “very forthcoming” about failures in their systems.
By Clancy Yeates, The Age, 19 August 2019
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