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December 14, 2017

CBA admits breaching anti-money laundering laws; AUSTRAC levels fresh allegations

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has admitted that errors in systems have led to breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws on more than 53,000 occasions.

In a response to the civil proceedings launched by Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in August 2017, the CBA said that late submission of 53,506 threshold transaction reports (TTRs) between 2012 and 2015 were all caused by the same single systems-related error.

The lender also admitted that it did not adequately adhere to risk assessment requirements for Intelligent Deposit Machines (IDMs).

The bank further acknowledged that it failed to comply with all its transaction monitoring requirements in relation to certain affected accounts.

However, AUSTRAC flagged a further 100 alleged breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws by the CBA.  The financial watchdog increased the total number of alleged contraventions from about 53,700 to approximately 53,800.

Commenting on the new allegation, CBA in a statement said: “CBA will review the amended statement of claim and update the market as appropriate. We will file an amended defence in due course.

“CBA re-states its position that we take our anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) obligations extremely seriously, and deeply regret any failure on our part to comply with these obligations.

“CBA commenced a Program of Action in 2015 to significantly upgrade and expand its operations to ensure compliance with the AML/CTF Act. During 2017 we have stepped up the rigour and intensity of the program and extended it across all aspects of financial crime obligations and all business units to further strengthen regulatory compliance.”

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