Australia’s Commonwealth Bank is accused of 53,700 breaches of anti-money laundering laws for failing to act on suspicions that its intelligent deposit machines were used by drug syndicates.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), the financial intelligence agency, is suing the bank over the breaches, which it believes enabled criminals to launder tens of millions of dollars.
The case relates to the use of intelligent deposit machines, a type of ATM launched in 2012, which allows customers to anonymously deposit and transfer cash.
Commonwealth Bank is accused of failing to report properly on Aus $77m worth of suspicious transactions to Austrac. Austrac claims that even when Commonwealth became aware its machines were being used for suspected money laundering, it failed to deal with the risk.
The bank now faces the difficult task of either disproving that its machines were used by money launderers or explaining why its reaction to the problem was so inadequate. It would have been far easier to have had sound money laundering identification and reporting procedures in place and working properly.
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