Westpac sued by AUSTRAC over anti-money laundering

Westpac sued by AUSTRAC over anti-money laundering
Staff ReporterDecember 7, 2020

Westpac are being sued by money laundering watchdog AUSTRAC for a deficient oversight of its anti-money laundering financing obligations.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre allege Westpac have breached the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML-CTF) Act more than 23 million times.

Westpac allegedly failed to report over 19.5 million international funds transfer instructions to AUSTRAC over a a five year period.

Westpac's annual report noted the investigation by AUSTRAC, but the bank advised they are "currently unable to reliably estimate."

Westpac updated their shareholders on the ASX this morning.

"Westpac Group has this morning received a statement of claim from AUSTRAC commencing civil proceedings in relation to alleged contraventions of Westpac's obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act", the update read.

"Westpac has previously disclosed (including in its Full Year 2019 reporting) that it had self-reported a failure to report a large number of international funds transfer instructions to AUSTRAC and that AUSTRAC was also investigating a number of other areas relating to Westpac's processes, procedures and oversight.

"Westpac is currently reviewing AUSTRAC's statement of claim and will issue a further statement to the ASX once it has been assessed."

AUSTRAC's chief executive officer Nicole Rose said at Parliament House described Westpac's behaviour as "serious and systemic non-compliance".

Editor's Picks