Commonwealth Bank’s court case begins as it defends 53,000 law-breaching allegations

By Addie Thomes

AUSTRAC’s legal proceedings against Commonwealth Bank (CBA) have started with the first case management hearing at the Federal Court.

Accused of 53,000 breaches of anti-money laundering and counter terror law, CBA is under fire for failing to file suspicious activity reports on time or at all. This allegedly took place 174 times and involved $77mn in transactions.

CBA is citing coding errors as the reason behind this, and is also warning of the enormous amount of time and resources that will be needed to prepare what it says are effectively 174 separate defence cases.


Acting AUSTRAC CEO Peter Clark said: "By failing to have sound AML/CTF systems and controls in place, businesses are at risk of being misused for criminal purposes.

"AUSTRAC's goal is to have a financial sector that is vigilant and capable of responding, including through innovation, to threats of criminal exploitation.

"We believe this can be achieved by working collaboratively with and supporting industry. We will continue to work in this way with our industry partners who also share this aim and demonstrate a strong commitment to it."


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