Commonwealth Bank Accused of Anti-Money Laundering Failures

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has been accused by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) of failing to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorism financing laws on nearly 54,000 occasions between November 2012 and September 2015.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn and litigation funder IMF Bentham, claimed that CBA knew of potential breaches and did not tell shareholders for two years after discovering the problems in the later half of 2015.  Furthermore, CBA failed to report over $10,000 in cash transactions through its intelligent deposit machines to AUSTRAC in time for review. 

Some executives at CBA, including Chief Executive Ian Narev, are being included in the class action for knowing about the bank’s compliance issues and failing to take action to fix them.  

CBA has said that it plans to defend itself against this action, however, according to the national head of class actions at Maurice Blackburn, Andrew Watson, CBA’s share price has already dropped dramatically since the AUSTRAC action was launched.  

This case is said to be one of the largest shareholder cases in Australian legal history.  The class action is brought on by all of the shareholders who bought CBA shares between July 2015 and August 2017.  With such a large number of shares being acquired during that time, this case could accumulate into millions of dollars in restitution for the shareholders involved.

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