Maurice Blackburn Lawyers (MBL) alleges the lender failed to keep shareholders up to date while making “misleading and deceptive” statements about its compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on October 9, 2017

A class-action suit has today been filed against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) following the explosive revelations of its failure to adhere to anti-money laundering laws.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers (MBL) filed the suit with the Federal Court on an open basis. It alleges the lender failed to keep shareholders up to date while making “misleading and deceptive” statements about its compliance with anti-money laundering laws, and “breaching continuous disclosure obligations in relation to its non compliance with the AML/CTF Act”.

It will be backed by litigation funders IMF Bentham, which has announced its support is “now unconditional”.

The suit has the potential to be Australia’s largest ever class-action, with MBL extending the claim period back to July 1, 2015. This has been driven by chairman Catherine Livingstone’s admission in August that the board was made aware of “alleged issues relating to Threshold Transaction Reporting in the Intelligent Deposit Machines”. CBA had been failing to send transaction reports to the anti-money laundering agency Austrac.

Others to have been named in the suit, alongside Ms Livingstone, for being aware of the breaches are outgoing CEO Ian Narev, former and current chief risk officers Alden Toevs and David Cohen, and departing board members Launa Inman and David Higgins.

The suit will include shareholders of CBA who purchased shares between mid-July 2015 and early August 2017, when the agency filed its allegations in the Federal Court. CBA has until mid-December to file its defence.

If you purchased ordinary CBA shares during the period from July 1 2015 to August 3 2017 and still held some or all of those shares until after 1pm on August 3 2017, you can register your claim at no cost or risk at the Maurice Blackburn website.