Bank­ing on an in­quiry

The Gympie Times - - NEWS NATION - – Liz Burke

LA­BOR has used claims of money laun­der­ing by bikies and Mex­i­can drug car­tels us­ing Aus­tralia’s big banks to re­new calls for a Royal Com­mis­sion into the sec­tor.

De­tails of a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion have been ex­posed in a Fair­fax me­dia probe, re­veal­ing the big four banks – West­pac, ANZ, NAB, and CBA – are all im­pli­cated in money laun­der­ing scams by or­gan­ised crime gangs. Other mid-tier banks are also re­port­edly in­volved.

The re­port claims crime syn­di­cates have ex­ploited weak laws to open ac­counts or de­posit money with min­i­mal or false iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, al­low­ing them to move around up to $5 mil­lion in drug money a day.

The re­port claims to ex­pose gap­ing holes in the banks’ anti-money laun­der­ing sys­tems.

Last month an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by anti-money laun­der­ing agency AUSTRAC into the Com­mon­wealth Bank ex­posed an al­leged lack of over­sight into money flows by the bank, and the Op­po­si­tion ramped up long-run­ning calls for a large-scale in­quiry into Aus­tralia’s bank­ing sec­tor.

The lat­est rev­e­la­tions sup­port sus­pi­cions ques­tion­able prac­tices are wide­spread.

Se­nior La­bor front­bencher An­thony Al­banese told Nine’s To­day pro­gram yes­ter­day: “We need a bank­ing royal com­mis­sion and I don’t know why the gov­ern­ment is re­sist­ing this. It will hap­pen, let’s get on with it.”

Key claims in the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to Fair­fax, in­clude an out­law bikie con­sid­er­ing ac­quir­ing a branch of a mid-tier bank, and a Bank of Queens­land branch be­ing closed down fol­low­ing a money-laun­der­ing op­er­a­tion by a Mex­i­can drug car­tel.

The re­port also iden­ti­fied a cases of Hong Kong na­tion­als ex­ploit­ing the banks to laun­der up to $29 mil­lion in drug money.

PHOTO: ABIS RICHARD CORDELL

IT’S ALL IN THE HANDS: Lead­ing sea­man James Far­quhar mar­shals a MH-60R Sea­hawk over the flight deck of HMAS Par­ra­matta – part of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force’s Joint Task Group Indo-Pa­cific En­deav­our. With six ships and more than 1300 per­son­nel, it is the largest co-or­di­nated task group to de­ploy to the re­gion for more than 40 years. The 11-week mis­sion will en­hance mil­i­tary co-op­er­a­tion with coun­tries such as Brunei, Cam­bo­dia, the Fed­er­ated States of Mi­crone­sia, In­dia, In­done­sia, Ja­pan, Malaysia, the Philip­pines, the Repub­lic of Korea, Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land and Ti­mor-Leste.

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