Will CBA scandal break the bank?

Through failing to comply with strict money laundering laws, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has enabled major criminal syndicates to launder millions of dollars in Australia.

Yesterday, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) filed a Federal Court motion to prosecute the bank of almost 54,000 alleged contraventions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF) laws since 2012.

It is being said that the Commonwealth Bank allegedly failed to comply with strict money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws and monitor almost 780,000 accounts.

Criminal syndicates and drug traffickers, possibly even terrorist organisations, have allegedly been able to launder money through the bank’s Intelligent Deposit Machines (IDMs), which are similar to ATMs only they also accept cash and cheque deposits.

According to the filed motion: “The deposits were the proceeds of a drug manufacture and importation syndicate. Three individuals have been charged with dealing with proceeds of crime, with one of these individuals already having been convicted.”

The Australian Federal Police has also found that bank accounts were opened by foreigners on holiday visas, through which tens of millions of dollars were laundered back overseas.

Other suspicious activity was identified by the bank, but it allowed the suspects to continue operating until police arrested everyone involved.

There have also been reports of the bank failing to report other suspicious activity.

All told, CBA did not comply with the requirements of its AML/CTF program relating to monitoring transactions on 778,370 accounts.

The bank could be facing fines totalling about a trillion dollars for the alleged breaches – about seven times the bank’s market value.

Last year, when CBA Chief Ian Narev was interviewed by a federal parliamentary committee over the financial planning scandals, he said: “At this stage we have not had individuals terminated as a result of this because we have not seen the need to do that.”

Read more at www.news.com.au

Will the individuals responsible for potentially bringing the Commonwealth Bank to its knees, possibly destroying the livelihood of millions and maybe terminating the jobs of thousands, be sacked? Do you think that, considering these findings, there should be renewed calls for a royal commission into the banking and finance sector?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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