AUSTRAC, the Government’s financial intelligence and regulatory body, has expanded its allegations of money laundering breaches against the Commonwealth Bank.
Among them, instances as recent as August this year including a customer identified as allegedly raising funds to support terrorism.
The Commonwealth in August was taken to the Federal Court to face alleged breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act over combined cash deposits of $624.7 million.
The civil proceedings follow an investigation into the use of intelligent deposit machines which, it is claimed, became the outlet of choice for criminal syndicates to shift offshore cash from drug deals.
A further 100 alleged contraventions were filed today by AUSTRAC. These were identified after the original civil penalty proceedings against the bank.
“These allegations are very serious and reflect systemic non-compliance over approximately six years,” says AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose.
AUSTRAC now alleges more than 53,800 contraventions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.
Among them, it is alleged the bank failed to report two suspicious matters within 24 hours of forming a suspicion relating to the financing of terrorism.
And even after the bank became aware of suspected terrorism financing, money laundering and/or structuring on CBA accounts, in 38 instances it did not appropriately monitor its customers.
The maximum penalty for an individual contravention alleged in the amended statement of claim is up to $21 million.
The commonwealth says the new allegations increase the total number of alleged contraventions from 53,700 to about 53,800.
“CBA will review the amended statement of claim and update the market as appropriate,” The bank says. “We will file an amended defence in due course.”
The bank is contesting a number of allegations but admit others, including the allegations relating to the late submission of 53,506 threshold transaction reports which were all caused by the same single systems-related error.
“CBA is committed to continuing to strengthen our financial crimes compliance and to working closely with regulators across all jurisdictions in which we operate to fight financial crime,” the bank says.