Comm Bank denies majority of money laundering allegations and refutes class action

Written on the 23 February 2018 by David Simmons

Comm Bank denies majority of money laundering allegations and refutes class action

The Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) has denied the "majority" of the allegations brought against it by AUSTRAC and has refuted all allegations of liability in the class action it is currently facing.

Comm Bank today lodged with the Federal Court of Australia its response to the amended statement of claim filed by AUSTRAC in December, where the regulator made 100 additional allegations of money laundering against the company.

The bank says it understands the role it plays in law enforcement and anti-money laundering, but says the allegations are false.

With regard to the AUSTRAC proceedings, Comm Bank says it did all it could to comply with the regulator's demands.

"To the end of 2017, we submitted more than 19 million reports to AUSTRAC submitted more than 40,000 suspicious matter reports[and] 20,000 requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies," says Commonwealth Bank.

"We have invested more than $400 million in financial compliance systems to counter financial crime over the past eight years and employ hundreds of personnel dedicated to detecting and disrupting financial crime."

The CBA says of the 100 new allegations made by AUSTRAC, the bank denies 89 allegations in full and admits 11 allegations in part.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn launched a class action in October 2017 against the bank, alleging breaches of continuous disclosure over CBA's compliance with anti-money-laundering legislation.

The bank says it categorically denies all allegations of liability made against it, and maintains it complied with its obligations "at all times".

"CBA takes its continuous disclosure obligations seriously and will continue to vigorously defend the claim," says the bank.

In early February 2018, Comm Bank set aside more than half a billion dollars to cover potential costs from the AUSTRAC allegations.

Outgoing CEO Ian Narev says the bank made a provision for a $375 million fine along with a further $200 million for "currently known" regulator, compliance and remediation costs, including the banking royal commission.

Shares in Commonwealth Bank are down 0.11 per cent to $74.56 per share at 10.39am AEDT.

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Business News Australia

Author: David Simmons





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