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ANZ speaks out on AUSTRAC investigations

The major bank has informed investors that it is “not aware” of any breaches to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws, in light of an ongoing AUSTRAC review.

In light of heightened scrutiny, ANZ has released a statement to investors surrounding its position in the ongoing AUSTRAC scandal, which has seen the regulator take civil penalty orders against other major banks allegedly implicated in money laundering, terrorism and child exploitation.

In the statement released on Wednesday (27 November), ANZ announced to investors that despite ongoing review, the major bank is “not aware of any impending litigation from AUSTRAC”, and the bank is taking an active role in preventing financial crime in the banking sector.

The statement comes as the fallout from AUSTRAC’s civil penalty order against Westpac continues, with the regulator alleging that Westpac had breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws on over 23 million occasions, a claim which has seen Brian Hartzer step down as the big bank’s CEO and changes to the board. 

The scandal has also brought the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s 53,000 breaches of the same laws back into the forefront, which resulted in a $700-million penalty for the major bank.

In the statement, ANZ informed shareholders that, as a member of the Fintel Alliance, a public-private partnership led by AUSTRAC which combats serious financial crime, the bank has been actively working with AUSTRAC to ensure its systems and processes are compliant in their reporting requirements.

ANZ said that while the review will continue, AUSTRAC has found “no material issues to date”.

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ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally said that as a member of the Fintel Alliance since May 2017, the bank is taking an active role in assisting the prevention of financial crime in the Australian banking system.

“Protecting the Australian banking system from criminal use is one of our most important roles and one all of our people are trained in and take incredibly seriously,” Mr Corbally said.

“ANZ has been working with AUSTRAC, law enforcement and the broader industry to detect, prevent and disrupt serious financial crimes. This includes money laundering, terrorism, human trafficking, tax evasion and child exploitation.

“Given recent issues identified by AUSTRAC within the industry, we have been reviewing the systems and processes we use to transfer money to ensure we are reporting the information required by regulators. 

“While the review is ongoing, it has found no material issues to date,” Mr Corbally said. 

[Related: Westpac fears ‘dangerous’ board cull]

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