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Westpac to form new group operating office, following money laundering accusations

Tuesday 28 July 2020 12:52 CET | News

Westpac has announced the creation of a new group operating office, following money laundering accusations.

The group joins the functions of its existing group operations and group technology arms and will be led by its chief operating officer Scott Collary, who joins Westpac from Bank of Montreal in Canada. The bank also announced that its COO Gary Thursby has resigned and is due to leave Westpac early in 2021.

These announcements have followed the money laundering scandals the bank was involved. According to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Westpac was involved in ‘systemic non-compliance’ with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) on over 23 million occasions.

According to ZDnet, Austrac said the bank had consistently failed to: assess and monitor ongoing money laundering and terrorism financing risks; report over 19.5 million International Funds Transfer Instructions (IFTIs) to Austrac over nearly five years for transfers both into and out of Australia; pass on information about the source of funds to other banks in the transfer chain; keep records relating to the origin of some of these international funds transfers; and carry out appropriate customer due diligence on transactions in the Philippines and South East Asia that were related to potential child exploitation risks.

In June 2020, responding to the above accusations, Westpac declared that ‘a mix of technology and human error’ plus ‘deficient financial crime processes’ have led to its failure to comply with anti-money laundering obligations.
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Keywords: Westpac, money laundering, Austrac, banks, fraud prevention, international funds transfers, human error, Australia
Categories: Securing Transactions | Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud
Countries: Australia
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Securing Transactions