CBA now faces a class action over the money laundering scandal

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Shareholders have launched a class action against the Commonwealth Bank over the drop in share value when the money laundering scandal broke this month.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn and litigation funder IMF Bentham announced the potential legal action say shareholders saw the value of their shares fall after financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC started legal proceedings against the bank.

The bank was taken to the Federal Court accused of breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act over combined cash deposits of $624.7 million.

Maurice Blackburn says the share price fall was in the top 1% of price movements for the bank over the last five years.

CBA shares dropped from an intra-day high of $84.69 on August 3 to an opening price of $80.11 on August 7.

Andrew Watson, national head of class actions at Maurice Blackburn, says the CBA had said that its board was aware of the breaches in the second half of 2015 but chose to say nothing until August 4, 2017.

A short time ago, CBA shares were trading at $78.90.

“As the largest company on the ASX shareholders would expect the CBA to take a leadership role in setting high standards of corporate conduct,” says Watson.

“The AUSTRAC allegations, if proven, show an abject failure of corporate governance and risk management. The failure to make proper disclosure to the market regarding those failures adds insult to injury for shareholders.”

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