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Tech & Science Leaked memos reveal Westpac was warned years ago it could be breaching anti-money-laundering laws

04:05  28 november  2019
04:05  28 november  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Westpac urged to consider the future of its leadership team

  Westpac urged to consider the future of its leadership team Politicians across the aisle are calling on Westpac to consider the future of its leadership team after the bank was accused of 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering and counter terrorism finance laws. CEO Brian Hatzer said he was "disgusted and appalled" by the breaches, but rejected claims the board was indifferent to the risks that triggered them.Mr Hartzer confirmed he did not intend to resign, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the bank needed to reflect on its misconduct.

Leaked memos reveal Westpac was warned years ago it could be breaching anti - money - laundering laws . Financial crime watchdog investigating Westpac over alleged breaches of laws . The bank allegedly allowed payments between known child exploiters in Asia.

Leaked memos reveal Westpac was warned years ago it could be The bank violated the anti - money laundering and counter-terrorism financing act 23 million times, AUSTRAC chief Nicole Rose said.

a group of people standing in front of a store: Internal memos have revealed Westpac was warned years ago it had issues with anti-money-laundering laws© Provided by Daily Mail Internal memos have revealed Westpac was warned years ago it had issues with anti-money-laundering laws

Internal memos have revealed Australia's second-biggest bank was warned years ago it had issues with anti-money-laundering laws.

The leaked memos said Westpac management did not take responsibility for overseeing the reporting of international transfers, The Australian reported.

Westpac was warned it was breaching anti-money-laundering laws long before financial crime regulator AUSTRAC began lodging cases against the big banks.

CEO Brian Hartzer stepped down on Tuesday after accusations the bank committed 23 million breaches of anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

'Don't feel too sorry' for departing Westpac CEO

  'Don't feel too sorry' for departing Westpac CEO Sky News contributor Adam Creighton says he is "surprised it's happened so soon" following Westpac Chief Executive Brian Hartzer's resignation on Tuesday morning. Mr Hartzer stepped down following allegations the bank breached anti-money laundering and counter terrorism laws more than 23 million times.Westpac CFO Peter King will take over as acting CEO from December 2 and Mr Hartzer will be paid his fixed remuneration of $2.7 million over the next 12 months."He's going to be okay, I don't think we need to feel too sorry for Brian Hartzer," Mr Creighton told Sky News host Peta Credlin.

The bank’s share price has fallen more than 7% since last Wednesday, when the financial intelligence agency Austrac launched legal action accusing it of breaching anti - money - laundering laws more than 23m times in transactions involving bn and linking its failures to child exploitation in the Philippines.

Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions.

Brian Hartzer wearing a suit and tie: Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer (pictured) stepped down on Tuesday after accusation the bank committed 23 million breaches of anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws© Provided by Daily Mail Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer (pictured) stepped down on Tuesday after accusation the bank committed 23 million breaches of anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws

AUSTRAC is pursuing Westpac in the Federal Court for allegedly failing to report millions of international fund transfers including payments allegedly linked to child exploitation in Southeast Asia.

The bank was first warned in June 2017 there was a 'poor handover' to management from the internal team who created the framework for dealing with anti-money-laundering laws.

Management was then 'unfamiliar' with the system the bank used to report international transfers.

There are allegations the bank breached laws 23 million times, including by allowing payments tied to child exploitation in The Philippines.

AUSTRAC scandal wipes $6.5b from Westpac

  AUSTRAC scandal wipes $6.5b from Westpac As much as $6.5 billion has been wiped from Westpac's value in the two days since it was ensnared in a money laundering and child exploitation scandal. The nation's second-largest lender has slipped into the red for a third straight session as its management faces mounting pressure to accept accountability for the "clear weaknesses" that led to an alleged 23 million breaches of money laundering laws.Westpac shares slipped by as much as 1.74 per cent to $24.

The chief executive of Australia's Westpac Banking Corp stepped down on Tuesday over a money laundering scandal involving child exploitation, just a Regulator AUSTRAC last week launched legal action accusing Westpac of enabling 23 million payments in breach of anti - money laundering laws

Legal action accusing bank of 23m law breaches hits share price and could lead to class actions.

It is believed the payments were facilitated despite the bank knowing customers were convicted paedophiles.

Westpac is believed to have failed to report more than 19.5million international fund transfer instructions to AUSTRAC over five years.

AUSTRAC chief Nicole Rose did not comment on the amount of a potential penalty, saying it was a matter for the courts.

But in its submission to the Federal Court, AUSTRAC noted that each of the 23 million breaches attracts a civil penalty between $17 million and $21 million, theoretically putting the bank on the hook for up to $483 trillion in fines.

The global economy was worth almost US$86 trillion ($127 trillion) in 2018, according to the World Bank.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Group Chairman Lindsay Maxsted (pictured) said: 'The Board accepts the gravity of the issues raised by AUSTRAC© Provided by Daily Mail Group Chairman Lindsay Maxsted (pictured) said: 'The Board accepts the gravity of the issues raised by AUSTRAC

Westpac's value has plunged by $8billion since the breach was first announced on November 20.

Westpac holds emergency board meeting as political pressure over money laundering breaches ramps up

  Westpac holds emergency board meeting as political pressure over money laundering breaches ramps up The board of the banking giant meets amid the money laundering scandal fallout, as the Prime Minister calls for accountability at the top of the bank.The board of Westpac has held an emergency meeting as the bank stands accused of 23 million breaches of money laundering laws.

Westpac 's chief executive Brian Hartzer will step down in the wake of allegations the bank committed 23 million breaches of Australia's anti - money laundering laws . Westpac was sued by the financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC, which last week applied to the Federal Court to issue fines against

Westpac 's chief executive Brian Hartzer will step down in the wake of allegations the bank committed 23 million breaches of Australia's anti - money laundering laws . Westpac was sued by the financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC, which last week applied to the Federal Court to issue fines against

The bank quickly slashed executive bonuses and shut down its international transfer platform LitePay due to the scandal.

Group Chairman Lindsay Maxsted said: 'The Board accepts the gravity of the issues raised by AUSTRAC.

'As was appropriate, we sought feedback from all our stakeholders including shareholders and having done so it became clear that Board and management changes were in the best interest of the Bank.'

The move to replace the CEO came after Mr Maxstead met with key investors on Monday who told him that not enough had been done to punish the executive team.

a person standing in front of a building: Westpac's value has plunged by $8billion since the breach was first announced on November 20© Provided by Daily Mail Westpac's value has plunged by $8billion since the breach was first announced on November 20

Mr Hartzer was given 12 months' notice and will still get his $2.7million salary.

He is the third top executive from the country´s four major banks to depart in the past 18 months as the Australian banking sector faces a wave of scandals.

'As CEO, I accept that I am ultimately accountable for everything that happens at the bank,' Mr Hartzer said in a statement.

'And it is clear that we have fallen well short of what the community expects of us, and we expect of ourselves.'

Mr Hartzer will be replaced by Westpac´s current CFO, Peter King, as of December 2, who announced his retirement in September but will remain until a permanent replacement is appointed.


Australia's Westpac allows withdrawal of share purchase applications .
Australia's Westpac allows withdrawal of share purchase applicationsThe decision was taken after discussions with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Westpac said, adding that eligible applicants could withdraw their applications by Dec. 6.

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