Over the last seven days, Australia’s financial regulators have been flexing their enforcement muscles, setting the tone for what’s likely to be on the agenda for the finance sector in 2020.
For instance, late last week AUSTRAC announced that it is taking civil penalty proceedings against Westpac in relation to 23 million alleged breaches of the AML/CTF Act 2006 (Cth) involving approx. $11 billion in funds.
If proven (or accepted), this will become the biggest anti-money laundering case Australia has ever seen and could expose Westpac to penalties which would amount to an ‘extinction event’ for the bank.
Earlier today, Afterpay revealed that it too may be subject to regulatory action for deficiencies in its AML/CTF compliance systems, while APRA and ASIC went on to announce their own investigations into Westpac, following the AUSTRAC revelations.
The issues raised by AUSTRAC, in relation to both Westpac and Afterpay, relate to alleged shortcomings in their respective financial crime compliance systems and controls.
Based on AUSTRAC’s detailed Statement of Claim in the Westpac proceedings and Afterpay’s announcements to the market and audit report, key issues can already be identified and lessons learned.
To find out more about AUSTRAC’s focus areas and what you can do to ensure your business is compliant, read the full article here.
Alternatively, should you have any queries or concerns regarding your compliance systems and frameworks, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion.