CBA admits some guilt ahead of court case



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Commonwealth Bank has filed its response to the civil proceedings filed in August by Australia’s financial intelligence and regulatory agency.

CBA said it admitted some of the allegations made by AUSTRAC, but contested others.

The major bank said in a statement it:

  • Agrees that it was late in filing 53,506 threshold transaction reports, “which all resulted from the same systems-related error”
  • Agrees that it “did not adequately adhere to risk assessment requirements for intelligent deposit machines”
  • But disagrees that the above fault amounted to eight separate contraventions
  • Agrees that it “did not adhere to all our transaction monitoring requirements in relation to certain affected accounts”
  • Admits (in whole or in part) 91 of the allegations concerning suspicious matter reports, but denies a further 83
  • Admits (in whole or in part) 52 allegations concerning ongoing customer due diligence requirements, but denies a further 19

“AUSTRAC has indicated that it proposes to file an amended statement of claim containing additional alleged contraventions,” according to Commonwealth Bank.

“If an amended claim is served on us, we expect the court would set a timetable for CBA to file an amended defence.”

CBA talks up its compliance credentials

Commonwealth Bank said it understands that, as a bank, it has an important role to play in law enforcement.

CBA said it regrets any failure to comply with its “anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations” and agrees it is “accountable for those deficiencies”.

The bank said it had spent more than $400 million on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing compliance over the past eight years.

“CBA also responds to large numbers of law enforcement requests for assistance each year, including approximately 20,000 requests this year,” it said.

“Some of the information provided directly resulted in disrupting money laundering and terrorism financing activity and prosecuting individuals.”

Commonwealth Bank said that, as of 30 June 2017, it employed more than 260 people dedicated to financial crimes operations, compliance and risk.

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