14 Dec 2017
Australia’s financial regulator AUSTRAC has expanded its civil penalty case against Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), adding 100 more alleged contraventions to its current proceedings.
The ‘very serious’ new charges include that CBA failed to properly report 54 suspicious matters pertaining to accounts and individuals that were the subject of law enforcement operations.
In addition, in 38 instances CBA did not appropriately monitor its customers to manage money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risk, even after it was aware of suspected ML/TF.
It also failed to comply with the requirements of its own AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage the risks associated with intelligent deposit machines (IDMs).
AUSTRAC now alleges over 53,800 contraventions, up from around 53,700, of AML/CFT rules.
AUSTRAC is continuing to work with the CBA to help strengthen its AML/CTF processes, and the bank is also collaborating in its private/public sector partnership, said AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM.
In response, CBA said on Thursday that it will review the amended statement of claim and file an amended defence in due course.
“CBA re-states its position that we take our anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) obligations extremely seriously, and deeply regret any failure on our part to comply with these obligations,” it said.
AUSRAC’s announcement comes a day after CBA issued a statement admitting to a number of compliance failings brought against it by AUSTRAC, but also stating that it was not guilty of all the accusations.
It admitted, for example, that it did not adequately adhere to risk assessment requirements for IDMs, however it denied that this had amounted to other separate contraventions.
CBA also denied some allegations pertaining to customer due diligence requirements.
The bank says it has since made some improvements, including introducing limits on the amount customers can deposit as part of new plans to fulfill its AML/CFT obligations.
In addition to AUSTRAC’s probe, in August the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said it was going to launch an independent prudential inquiry into governance and accountability within CBA.
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