Thursday, September 24, 2020

Australia's Banksters

 Australia's Westpac bank has negotiated to pay a record A$1.3bn (£0.7bn; $0.9bn) fine for the nation's biggest breach of money laundering laws.

Last year, Australia's financial crime watchdog said the bank had failed to adequately report over 19 million international transactions.  It will be the largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history.

Some payments were potentially linked to child exploitation, officials said. Concerns about child exploitation came after the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac)  identified payments made to suspected operators in the Phillipines. Australian media has since linked the bank to individual cases, including an alleged paedophile's suspected use of Westpac's transfer system to pay for child sex overseas.
In Australia, Westpac's competitor Commonwealth Bank paid an A$700m fine for similar breaches in 2018 involving 53,000 suspect transactions. The nation's banking sector was last year also the subject of a royal commission - Australia's highest form of public inquiry - that exposed widespread wrongdoing in the industry.

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