Earlier this year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad established Strike Force Napthali to investigate allegations of corrupt commissions being paid for contracts.
Investigators were reportedly told about a scheme whereby a person was allegedly receiving corrupt commissions to authorise payments by the bank in relation to invoices for a contractor that were in excess of the agreed value of the contract.
As part of ongoing investigations, Strike Force Napthali detectives executed three search warrants at businesses at North Sydney and Milsons Point and at a home at Potts Point on Tuesday (10 April) morning.
During the warrants, investigators seized “large amounts of documents and electronic storage devices, which will be examined by the squad’s forensic accountants”.
Financial Crimes Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said that detectives are working closely with NAB’s investigators to establish exactly what has occurred.
“Our Corporate Corruption Team has been working tirelessly to track payments and other funds to determine if an offence has been committed,” Det Supt Linda Howlett said.
“From the information we have gathered so far, we know there are people who have significant information that may assist us, and we are appealing for them to come forward.
“These investigations are complex and often protracted, but it’s likely even a small piece of valuable information or insight could assist us in resolving the matter swiftly.”
NAB chief executive officer Andrew Thorburn told NAB senior leaders on Tuesday: “I want to let you know that, this morning, NSW police informed us of the execution of a search warrant involving a former supplier of the bank.
“This matter has been investigated by us, and was reported quickly to police, and we will continue to fully cooperate with them.
“The people under investigation no longer work with the bank or are involved with us.”
Mr Thorburn added that there are no customers involved or impacted.
He said that the bank will not be commenting further on the case while it remains under police investigation.
“Our focus must remain on serving our customers with professionalism and integrity,” Mr Thorburn said.
The matter is the latest fraud case to be brought to light in recent weeks, following the revelation that the big four bank failed to produce a document to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that revealed instances of “fraudulent payments to introducers”.
Investigations under Strike Force Napthali are ongoing and the police are urging anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Napthali detectives with their inquiries to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.
Annie Kane is the editor of Mortgage Business.
As well as writing news and features on the Australian mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending market – Annie is also a regular contributor to the Mortgage Business Uncut podcast.
Before joining Momentum Media in 2016, Annie wrote for a range of business and consumer titles, including The Guardian (Australia), BBC Music Magazine, Elle (Australia), BBC Countryfile, BBC Homes & Antiques, and Resource magazine.