Westpac is to pay A$1.3 billion, by far Australia’s biggest-ever corporate fine for breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
The 93-page statement of agreed facts and admissions prepared by Westpac and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) says Westpac contravened the Act more than 23 million times exposing Australia’s financial system to criminal exploitation.
It failed to pass on information to authorities about the origin of international funds transfers, and failed to pass on information to other banks in the transfer chain who needed to manage their own money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
“Westpac failed to identify activity potentially indicative of child exploitation risks by failing to implement appropriate transaction monitoring detection scenarios,” the agreed statement says.
“Three of the customers the subject of these proceedings had prior convictions relating to child exploitation offences.”
“One of these customers has been arrested in relation to further child exploitation offences since the commencement of these proceedings.
Authors: The Conversation