SYDNEY – The Australian regulator confirmed on Friday it will investigate charges of money laundering against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Greg Medcraft told a parliamentary committee about the investigation, a week after the financial intelligence agency, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, filed a lawsuit against the bank.
AUSTRAC alleges that the bank failed to comply with the law against money laundering and terrorist financing in some 53,700 transactions between November 2012 and September 2015.
Medcraft said Friday that ASIC is already probing whether the CBA’s officers and directors acted illegally by not informing investors of money laundering suspicions.
“I wanted to inform the committee that ASIC has commenced inquiries into this matter and any consequences this matter has for the laws we administer,” he said.
The investigation will determine if the bank complied with its licensing obligations to “act efficiently, honestly and fairly” in fulfilling the requirement to report any potential liability, according to the Sydney Morning Herald website.
Earlier this week, CBA chairperson Catherine Livingstone admitted that the board became aware of the risk of intelligent deposit machines during the second half of 2015.
Authorities estimate the total amount of transactions carried out through the bank between 2012-2015 amounts to around AU$624.7 million ($495 million).
According to the statement, filed by AUSTRAC, users of the Commonwealth Bank – which did not set a daily limit – used intelligent deposit machines to transfer amounts up to AU$20,000 through cash or cheque.
The government agency alleges that the bank did not report cash movements larger than AU$10,000 as stipulated by anti-money laundering laws.