The National Australia Bank is being investigated by national financial crime regulators for breaking money laundering laws as part of a broader crackdown on organized crime.
Australia’s third-largest market capitalization company said Monday that Australia has begun a formal investigation into its compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws. The casino groups Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment Group and Sky City Entertainment Group are also under investigation, he said. The investigation is part of an extensive campaign by authorities aimed at organized crime revenue, focusing on financial institutions, casinos and crypto exchanges. Continue reading “Article: Australia’s NAB faces money laundering probe”
Banking regulators around the globe were busy last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Like any other year, the regulators imposed heavy fines on banks and financial institutions for a range of indiscretions, including money laundering, tax evasion and market manipulation. It is estimated that total bank fines amounted to more than $14 billion in 2020, with the U.S. accounting for the majority of them with 12 bank fines. Anti-money laundering (AML) breaches were the most common violation last year. Detailed below are the ten biggest bank fines of 2020. Continue reading “Article: THESE ARE THE TEN BIGGEST BANK FINES OF 2020”
Australia’s securities regulator is probing Westpac Banking Corp. on allegations of insider trading, just months after the country’s second-biggest lender paid a record fine to settle breaches of anti-money laundering laws.
The corporate regulator has taken legal action accusing Westpac of insider trading over a $12bn interest rate swap linked to the part-privatisation in 2016 of New South Wales’s electricity distribution network, Ausgrid.
In a federal court lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission accused Westpac of using inside information to trade in interest rate derivatives during the two hours before it executed the swap, which was the largest in Australian history.
It is the latest regulatory blow for the big bank, which in September last year agreed to pay a record $1.3bn fine to settle legal action over money laundering and child exploitation allegations levelled against it by the financial intelligence agency, Austrac.
Westpac also has recent form in the area of market manipulation – in 2018, the federal court found it had engaged in “serious and unacceptable” conduct by attempting to fix an interest rate benchmark, and fined it $3.3m, which was the maximum available under the law at the time.
(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.
Australian bank Westpac has agreed to a $25 million deal settling claims that it conspired with a cabal of banking institutions to rig the price of derivatives based on an Australian foreign exchange benchmark.
Tuesday’s proposed deal would also compel Westpac, which denied all illegal conduct or wrongdoing, to turn over information related to the alleged price-fixing conspiracy. This would, according to the investors, strengthen cases against Westpac’s co-defendants and lead to similarly-structured deals with the accused conspirators.
Westpac has agreed to pay a record penalty of $1.3bn to settle legal action over money laundering and child exploitation allegations levelled against it by the financial intelligence agency, Austrac.
The $1.3bn figure is $400m more than the $900m the bank had previously set aside as an estimate of the penalty it would have to pay and comes after the bank said an additional 250 customers made transactions consistent with child exploitation – a dramatic increase on the 12 over which the regulator originally took action.