Westpac has announced it will pay a $1.3 billion fine, the largest in Australian corporate history, for breaching anti-money laundering laws and for failing to stop child exploitation payments.
Chief executive Peter King apologised for the bank’s failings as the settlement with the financial crimes regulator, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), was announced.
“We are committed to fixing the issues to ensure that these mistakes do not happen again. This has been my number one priority. We have also closed down relevant products and reported all relevant historical transactions.”
The penalty surpasses Commonwealth Bank’s $700 million settlement, also with AUSTRAC, in 2018. CBA was fined for facilitating money laundering linked to arms and drugs dealers through its ATMs. That fine dwarfed the previous record, of $45 million paid by Tabcorp to settle its money-laundering case with AUSTRAC in 2017.
More to come