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ASIC probing CBA over AUSTRAC allegations

Stuart Condie  |  11 Aug 2017Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

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SYDNEY - [AAP] Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) is being investigated by the corporate regulator over its alleged breach of money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Greg Medcraft on Friday told a parliamentary committee that the regulator was looking at whether CBA complied with its duties under the Corporations Act and if it had met its continuous disclosure obligations.

Australia's financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC has accused Australia's largest bank of failing to provide on-time reports for more than 53,500 transactions of $10,000 or more.

Mr Medcraft said he held Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev and chairman Catherine Livingstone in high esteem, but that ASIC had nonetheless started investigations.

He said he had concerns about the bank's lack of disclosure about alleged breaches that occurred two years ago.

"It's just very disappointing and it's a problem of culture," Mr Medcraft said.

Mr Medcraft said he would have expected CBA to tell ASIC about the suspected breaches when the bank became aware of them, and there was no legal or regulatory impediment to CBA doing so.

He said all commercially sensitive information would have been held in confidence.

"It's always better to be more transparent," Mr Medcraft said.

"Share everything you can, don't hold back."

Mr Medcraft said domestic banks compared unfavourably with international rivals in Australia when it came to their interactions with regulators.


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