Westpac uncovers more reporting breaches as anti-money laundering probe continues

Westpac uncovers more reporting breaches as anti-money laundering probe continues

Big Four bank Westpac (ASX: WBC) has today revealed hundreds of thousands of transactions that should have been reported to Australia's financial crime watchdog as part of its investigation into alleged non-compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

In its interim annual report published in May, Westpac identified 60,000-90,000 Threshold Transaction Reports (TTRs) that were not reported to AUSTRAC. However it now appears the number is substantially larger.

A notice from the regulator prompted further investigations leading Westpac to provide AUSTRAC with 175,000 transactions that were not originally reported as well as around 365,000 TTRs that had been reported but may have contained incomplete or inaccurate information.

This compares to 23 million occasions in which AUSTRAC alleges Westpac contravened the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

"A significant proportion of the potential reporting issues relate to a range of complex scenarios where the legislation requires Westpac to exercise judgement on how multiple transactions may be aggregated and whether a threshold transaction has actually occurred," Westpac said today.

"Accordingly, not all of the above numbers may be breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth). 

"Westpac continues to engage with AUSTRAC in relation to these TTR issues, and notes that the numbers above may change."

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