Article: Money laundering cop AUSTRAC to face grilling under new financial crime inquiry

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Money laundering cop AUSTRAC to face grilling under new financial crime inquiry

Charlotte Grieve, 23 June 2021

The financial intelligence watchdog and big four banks will be probed under a new parliamentary inquiry designed to measure the efficiency and adequacy of the Australia’s anti-money laundering regime.

The Senate approved a motion brought by Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill on Wednesday to launch a formal inquiry into the effectiveness of the laws, regulators and companies tasked with stamping out illicit fund flows. Continue reading “Article: Money laundering cop AUSTRAC to face grilling under new financial crime inquiry”

Article: Australia’s NAB faces money laundering probe

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Australia’s NAB faces money laundering probe

ishwarkimmins, 07 June 2021

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”

Article: THESE ARE THE TEN BIGGEST BANK FINES OF 2020

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THESE ARE THE TEN BIGGEST BANK FINES OF 2020

ValueWalk, 07 May 2021

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”

Article: Westpac Probed by Regulator on Insider Trading Allegations

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Westpac Probed by Regulator on Insider Trading Allegations

Nabila Ahmed, 05 May 2021

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 allegations relate to Westpac’s role in executing a A$12 billion ($9.3 billion) interest-rate swap transaction with a consortium of AustralianSuper Pty Ltd. and a group of IFM entities in October 2016, according to a statement on Wednesday from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Continue reading “Article: Westpac Probed by Regulator on Insider Trading Allegations”

Article: Asic accuses Westpac of insider trading over $12bn Ausgrid privatisation deal

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Asic accuses Westpac of insider trading over $12bn Ausgrid privatisation deal

Ben Butler, 05 May 2021

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.

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Article: CBA, ANZ to Settle 2016 Lawsuit Involving BBSW Manipulation

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CBA, ANZ to Settle 2016 Lawsuit Involving BBSW Manipulation

Editors, Regulation Asia, 23 March 2021

The case was initially launched by two US hedge funds and a US-based derivatives trader, alleging they suffered losses due to bank manipulation of the BBSW.

CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and ANZ Bank have separately issued statements saying they have reached an agreement to settle a class action brought against them in the US in 2016 involving the trading of certain BBSW-based products. Continue reading “Article: CBA, ANZ to Settle 2016 Lawsuit Involving BBSW Manipulation”

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: Aussie Bank Westpac Inks $25M Deal In Rate-Rigging Suit

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Aussie Bank Westpac Inks $25M Deal In Rate-Rigging Suit

Caleb Drickey, 02 March 2021

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.

In a memorandum, representatives for the proposed class expressed confidence that the newly announced deal would lead to further victories against defendant banks. Continue reading “Article: Aussie Bank Westpac Inks $25M Deal In Rate-Rigging Suit”

Article: Caught in a bear trap: How ‘short and distort’ attacks are costing Australian investors billions

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Caught in a bear trap: How ‘short and distort’ attacks are costing Australian investors billions

Adele Ferguson

Sydney Morning Herald,

Australia has become a paradise for a new, aggressive form of short selling. And regulators’ failure to act is costing investors billions.

Dubbed the “short and distort” gang, a group of largely foreign-based research houses issue highly damaging reports, designed to cause maximum damage to the companies they target.

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Article: Westpac to pay record $1.3bn fine after money laundering and child exploitation investigation

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Westpac to pay record $1.3bn fine after money laundering and child exploitation investigation

Ben Butler, 23 September 2020

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.

In a further concession to Austrac, Westpac has also agreed to additional contraventions of anti-money laundering and counter-terror finance laws, the company told the stock exchange on Thursday. Continue reading “Article: Westpac to pay record $1.3bn fine after money laundering and child exploitation investigation”