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Westpac, AUSTRAC make first court appearance

— 1 minute read

Westpac and AUSTRAC have started negotiating what they agree happened with the alleged 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

The major bank and anti-financial terrorism regulator made their first Federal Court appearance earlier this week, for a case management hearing.

According to Westpac, the parties jointly told the court that they have commenced discussions regarding a statement of agreed facts.

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The breaches, which included 12 transactions linked to child sex trafficking, saw former boss Brian Hartzer step down and chairman Lindsay Maxsted bring his retirement forward.

The bank commented it has made a number of changes to its transaction monitoring and is continuing to review its processes and report to AUSTRAC suspicious matters.

Westpac said it is “determined to resolve this matter with AUSTRAC and to urgently fix its issues around financial crime compliance,” being in the process of implementing its response plan.

Meanwhile, APRA is yet to indicate if it will be pursuing action against the bank under the Banking Executive Accountability Regime.

The court has scheduled a further case management hearing, to occur around late February or early March.

Westpac in the meantime is set to face the ire of shareholders at its annual meeting on Thursday.

Following the two-strike rule, a minimum of 25 per cent of shareholders voting against the board’s remuneration report could trigger a spill, following the first strike last year, when the majority of shareholders rejected the board’s pay.

 

Westpac, AUSTRAC make first court appearance
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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].

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