SYDNEY – The Commonwealth Bank, one of the four largest financial institutions in Australia, admitted Thursday that it had violated the country’s anti-money laundering and terror financing laws in the country and is facing a multi-million dollar fine.
The bank acknowledged the irregularities in its defense filed Wednesday night as parts of the civil proceedings launched in August by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), which accuses the bank of violating the law after in some 53,500 transactions between November 2012 and September 2015.
According to AUSTRAC, the bank failed to report transactions of above AU$10,000 ($7,630) within ten days, as required by Australia’s anti-money laundering laws.
In a statement, the Commonwealth Bank attributed the delay in submitting reports to system-related errors, and assured that since 2015, it has taken steps as part of its Program of Action “to strengthen and improve our financial crimes compliance.”
According to the lawsuit, the financial institution allowed its Intelligent Deposit Machines to transfer up to AU$20,000 ($15,265), by check or cash, without daily limits on the number of transactions.
The unreported irregular transactions are estimated to be around AU$624.7 million ($476 million).
AUSTRAC plans to present its response to the bank’s defense on March 16.
Commonwealth Bank shares dropped by one percent during the morning trading session on Thursday.