Commonwealth Bank of Australia (“CBA”), the largest bank in Australia, has agreed to a proposed civil settlement — subject to court approval — of historic proportions, involving a fine of approximately $700 million Australian dollars (roughly equivalent to $530 million U.S. dollars) regarding numerous alleged Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) and Counter Terrorism Financing (“CTF”) violations. The settlement is with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (“AUSTRAC”) – a government financial intelligence agency whose counterpart in the U.S. would be the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) — and represents the largest such enforcement action in the history of Australia. Under the settlement, AUSTRAC also will recoup its legal costs of $2.5 million Australian dollars.
As we have blogged, AUSTRAC filed on August 3, 2017 a claim seeking civil monetary penalties against CBA for over 53,000 alleged violations of Australia’s AML/CTF law. Although the case involves several types of alleged AML violations, it fundamentally rests on the bank’s use of so-called intelligent deposit machines (“IDMs”), a type of ATM which allowed customers to anonymously deposit and transfer cash. Unfortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, the IDMs also became an alleged favored conduit for money laundering by criminals involved in drug trafficking and illegal firearms. Continue Reading Australia’s Largest Bank Agrees to Historic AML Penalty