After signalling its intention to fight more than 100 AUSTRAC allegations, CBA is expected to be hit by fresh charges relating to the facilitation of banking by criminal syndicates and terrorists.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on December 14, 2017

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) last night released a statement saying it would accept culpability (in whole or in part) to 143 allegations in AUSTRAC’s claim relating to anti-money laundering breaches and customer due diligence requirements.

The nation’s largest bank also said it would contest a further 102 allegations also relating to the reporting on suspicious transactions and customer monitoring.

CBA admitted to AUSTRAC’s accusations that it failed to file more than 53,506 transactions which exceeded a $10,000 limit and passed through its smart ATMs between November 2012 and September 2015.

It said it was late in doing so because of a “systems-related error”, and made a point of mentioning that the total number of threshold transaction reports (TTR) it failed to lodge accounted for just 2.3% of what they flagged to AUSTRAC during that period.

It also accepts it “did not adequately adhere to risk assessment requirements for Intelligent Deposit Machines” nor did it adhere to all of its “transaction monitoring requirements in relation to certain affected accounts”.

AUSTRAC will submit an amended statement of claim to the Federal Court today, as CBA faces the prospect of being hit with 100 fresh allegations relating to the facilitation of banking by criminal syndicates involved in money laundering and terrorist financing.

“If an amended claim is served on us, we expect the court would set a timetable for CBA to file an amended defence. We will provide market updates as appropriate,” the bank said in its statement.

“We deeply regret any failure to comply with these obligations,” it added. “CBA is accountable for those deficiencies.”

AUSTRAC’s allegations led to CEO Ian Narev’s resignation announcement in August and saw the executive team’s short-term bonuses be withdrawn.

CBA is also facing what could potentially be Australia’s largest ever shareholder class action.