$700m penalty for Aus­tralia’s big­gest bank

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

THE Com­mon­wealth Bank of Aus­tralia has agreed to pay a Aus­tralian $700m (£400m) fine for fail­ing to com­ply with mea­sures to prevent money laun­der­ing and ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing.

Aus­tralia’s largest bank said it had ne­go­ti­ated the fine with the Aus­tralian Trans­ac­tion Re­ports and Anal­y­sis Cen­tre, the gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial in­tel­li­gence agency bet­ter known as Austrac, to re­solve a civil Fed­eral Court case that be­gan in August.

The agree­ment is sub­ject to court ap­proval.

The bank ad­mit­ted that it was late in re­port­ing more than 53,500 sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions ex­ceed­ing $10,000 (£5,686) be­tween 2012 and 2015. Each of­fence was pun- ish­able by a fine of up to $21m (£11m).

The bank blamed a sin­gle soft­ware er­ror in its deposit-tak­ing cash ma­chines. It ar­gued those vi­o­la­tions should be treated as one rather than as a series of in­di­vid­ual of­fences.

The sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions were con­ducted by peo­ple con­nected to the in­ter­na­tional drug trade.

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