Article: Australia’s banking regulator ends Westpac money laundering probe

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Australia’s banking regulator ends Westpac money laundering probe

Reuters Staff, 12 March 2021

(Reuters) – Australia’s banking regulator said on Friday it had closed the investigation against Westpac Banking Corp for possible breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

The bank was first accused of breaching the laws in 2019 by the country’s financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC, which led to parallel probes by corporate regulator ASIC and banking regulator Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

In September last year, Westpac was forced to agree to a record A$1.3 billion ($1.01 billion) payment to settle AUSTRAC’s claims.

APRA said on Friday it had closed its investigation after considering the results of the probe by ASIC, which was closed in December last year.

“Although the investigation has not found evidence of breaches … APRA remains determined to ensure Westpac rectifies its risk governance weaknesses effectively and sustainably,” the APRA Deputy Chair John Lonsdale said.

In a separate statement, Westpac acknowledged APRA’s decision to end the probe.

($1 = 1.2844 Australian dollars)

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Article: Millions vanish into crypto world in high-yield bond scam

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Millions vanish into crypto world in high-yield bond scam

Michael Roddan and Jonathan Shapiro, 08 March 2021

Sophisticated British criminals exploited vulnerabilities in Australia’s search engine and cryptocurrency infrastructure to dupe small investors, lured by the promise of high-yield funds badged by some of the finance world’s most trusted brands.

The complex scheme involved stolen identities and fraudulent prospectuses that claimed to represent high-yield investment funds run by global managers Citibank, Nomura, and IFM Investors. It has ensnared millions from unsuspecting victims who sought better returns as interest rates collapsed during the COVID-19 crisis. Continue reading “Article: Millions vanish into crypto world in high-yield bond scam”

Article: Crown chairman Helen Coonan admits casino ‘facilitated’ money laundering

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Crown chairman Helen Coonan admits casino ‘facilitated’ money laundering

Mostafa Rachwani,  20 October 2020

The Crown Resorts chairman, Helen Coonan, has admitted the company facilitated money laundering at its Melbourne casino but denied it was “turning a blind eye” to criminal activity instead blaming it on “ineptitude”.

The concession was made at the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold a Sydney casino licence.

Coonan was asked on Tuesday about Crown’s relationship with SunCity, a high-roller junket partner with alleged criminal links. She was challenged on why Crown did not shut down SunCity’s private room in Melbourne after evidence emerged of money laundering. Continue reading “Article: Crown chairman Helen Coonan admits casino ‘facilitated’ money laundering”

Article: Crown Melbourne casino faces Austrac investigation for potential money laundering breaches

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Crown Melbourne casino faces Austrac investigation for potential money laundering breaches

Anne Davies,  30 March 2021

Crown Resorts is facing a new threat to its casino licences and the prospect of multimillion-dollar fines after it was informed by Austrac, the government agency responsible for anti-money laundering laws that it has identified “potential non-compliance” by Crown Melbourne.

In a release to the ASX, Crown has said the “potential non-compliance includes concerns in relation to ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintaining and complying with an anti-money laundering / counter-terrorism financing program”. Continue reading “Article: Crown Melbourne casino faces Austrac investigation for potential money laundering breaches”

Article: New York fines Credit Suisse $135 mn over forex manipulation

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New York fines Credit Suisse $135 mn over forex manipulation

Agence France-Presse, 14 November 2017

US regulators hit banking giant Credit Suisse with a $135 million fine to resolve allegations its traders manipulated foreign exchange prices, New York officials announced Monday.

The illicit activity began at least as far back as 2008 through as recently as 2015, and included profiting at clients’ expense and improperly sharing client information, the New York State Department of Financial Services said in a statement.The department’s superintendent Maria Vullo said certain bank executives “deliberately fostered a corrupt culture” which permitted repeated violations of the law and of client trust.The action against Credit Suisse is the latest in a series of agreements by major international banks to settle the investigations by US authorities into the alleged manipulation of the foreign exchange market. In late September, the British bank HSBC agreed to pay $175 million to avoid prosecution. Continue reading “Article: New York fines Credit Suisse $135 mn over forex manipulation”

Article: The real estate industry has escaped compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act so far – but experts predict not for long.

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The real estate industry has escaped compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act so far – but experts predict not for long.

Compliance Alert, 05 May 2017

Credit Suisse is forecasting $60 billion in new Chinese investment in Australia’s housing market over the next six years, more than double the $28 billion deluge of the past six years. One question is: how much of this is “clean” money? The likely introduction of further money laundering legislation may crimp the flow of Chinese funds. More broadly, it threatens to impose enormous costs on small businesses already foundering under a mountain of compliance paperwork.

This was brought to our attention last week when a fund manager touched base and bewailed, albeit with good reason, how real estate agents were still excluded from all obligations under Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. Continue reading “Article: The real estate industry has escaped compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act so far – but experts predict not for long.”