Maurice Blackburn has launched a class action against CBA

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Maurice Blackburn has launched a class action against Commonwealth Bank for the AUSTRAC debacle following the announcement from litigation funders IMF Bentham that its funding is now unconditional.

Lawyers acting in behalf of shareholders will allege the bank engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct” in addition to “breaching continuous disclosure obligations in relation to its non compliance with the AML/CTF Act”.

The statement of claim specifically names departing chief executive Ian Narev, chairman Catherine Livingstone, former chief risk officer Alden Toevs, current chief risk officer David Cohen and departing board members Launa Inman and David Higgins as among the bank personnel who had knowledge of the matter.

Commonwealth Bank declined the opportunity to comment at the time of publication, saying it was yet to be served despite the statement of claim being filed in the Victorian Registry of the Federal Court of Australia on Monday morning.

In a development that has the potential to see this case become even bigger lawyers from Maurice Blackburn have extended the claim period back to July 1, 2015.

It follows a statement from chairman Catherine Livingstone in August that the board was made aware of “alleged issues relating to Threshold Transaction Reporting in the Intelligent Deposit Machines” in the second half of 2015.

IMF Bentham and Maurice Blackburn had previous said they expected the class action to be Australia’s largest which implied recoveries in excess of $200 million.

IMF Bentham announced to the ASX on Monday morning that proceedings had been issued in the matter. Legal proceedings have been filed in the Federal Court on an ‘open class’ basis which means any buyer of shares during the period will be entitled to recover losses.

IMF Bentham says that following the bombshell announcement from financial intelligence regulator AUSTRAC that Commonwealth Bank failed or delayed the reporting of 53,000 transactions that the value of Commonwealth Bank shares fell 5.4 per cent over the next three trading sessions.

Maurice Blackburn’s Andrew Watson said that the price drop was in the top 1 percent of price movements experienced by CBA shareholders in the previous five years.

“Our investigations and analysis show that this drop was in the top one percent of price movements that CBA experienced in the past five years, so clearly the news was of material significance to shareholders,” Mr Watson said

Investors who bought shares in Commonwealth Bank between July 1, 2015 and August 3, 2017 are able to register their details at www.imf.com.au/CBA.

This article first appeared on the AFR.com. See the original post here.

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