Friday 13 December 2019
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todayonline - 23 days ago

Factbox: The Australian financial crime regulator s accusations against Westpac

SYDNEY - Australia s Westpac Banking Corp lt;WBC.AX gt; has been accused of 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering law, with regulators saying the company enabled payments from convicted child sex offenders and high risk countries over half a decade. Westpac says it self-reported the breaches and has shut down the mechanism used to allow the payments. Here are the accusations made by the regulator, AUSTRAC, against Westpac, Australia s second largest bank, in a civil court filing published on Wednesday: - Failed to assess and monitor money laundering and terrorism financing risks associated with the banking services it provided to customers through other banks around the world. - Failed to carry out appropriate due diligence on customers sending money to the Philippines and South East Asia for known child exploitation risks. - Failed to report millions of international funds transfer instructions to AUSTRAC or to other banks - Knew since 2013 of heightened child exploitation risks associated with frequent low value payments to the Philippines and South East Asia but only began monitoring in June 2018. - Failed to do appropriate due diligence on 12 customers to identify, mitigate and manage known child exploitation risks despite repeated patterns of frequent low value transactions. - Identified a suspicious payment from a customer convicted of child exploitation then failed to stop the customer sending payments to the Philippines. - Hindered law enforcement efforts and deprived AUSTRAC and tax authorities of information relating to over A$11 billion in international payments for up to six years. - Exposed the Australian payments system to unacceptable and longstanding money laundering and terrorism financing risks. - Failed to check partner banks which had relationships with high risk or sanctioned countries including Iraq, Lebanon, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo. REUTERS


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