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Commonwealth Bank, one of the four major banks in Australia, is in trouble for breaching the Anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

The Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has found the bank had failed on 53,700 occasions to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing ACT when it launched civil proceedings today against the bank.

The allegations follow an AUSTRAC investigation into the Commonwealth Banks use of intelligent deposit machines (or Smart ATM’s as they are known) between 2012 and 2015. These machines allow for customers to deposit large sums of money in real time into their account within requiring them to make the transaction over the counter and potentially avoid any suspicious transaction reports.

If found guilty the bank could face fines of around $18 million dollars. This comes at a time when the bank is making record profits and trying to shift it’s focus away from controvesy’s of the past.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing ACT was established in order to stop funds being obtained by criminal empires and terrorist organizations and hence cut off their major revenue streams. It has specific compliance measures built into it regarding the identification of customers and businesses and has had successes in stopping funds going to crime or terrorism. It requires Banks to work with government department to ensure this.

This fine would be small compared to TABcorp, a gambling establishment, which faced $45 million in fines for similar breaches. This story is still developing.

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