State Street bank hit with million-dollar money laundering fine in Australia
16 Sep 2020

The Australian arm of a global bank is the latest financial institution to be fined for breaching anti-money laundering laws.

The US-based State Street bank has been hit with a $1.24 million infringement notice for failing to declare international transfer instructions that potentially left it exposed to organised crime, terrorism, slavery, drug trafficking and tax evasion being committed via its facilities.

The ABC understands State Street was fined $12,000 for each of the 99 breaches, which the bank self-reported to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

AUSTRAC deputy chief executive Peter Soros told AM financial institutions need to report foreign transactions accurately and on time to counter serious organised crime.

“State Street has worked with us on this matter but it’s really important that all businesses regulated by AUSTRAC take this seriously,” Mr Soros said.

“We continue to see the evolution of the criminal mindset. Financial crime is a continually evolving and challenging landscape.

“Criminals will continue to look at a range of methods and tools to exploit the system. International fund transfers provide us with important intelligence on potential exploitation.”

Big four banks under scrutiny

The State Street fine is tiny compared to the $700 million settlement by Commonwealth Bank for almost 54,000 breaches revealed by the ABC in 2017.

Mr Soros refused to comment on whether a $900 million penalty would be appropriate for Westpac.

By Peter Ryan, ABC, 16 September 2020

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