Australia’s corporate regulator to interview CBA executives: AFR

FILE PHOTO - People use Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) bank ATMs in Sydney
FILE PHOTO – People use Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) bank ATMs in Sydney, Australia May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

March 5, 2019

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s corporate regulator is interviewing top executives at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as part of an investigation into alleged failure to prevent possible money laundering, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported on Tuesday.

CBA in 2018 agreed to a civil penalty of A$700 million ($496.23 million) to settle charges bought by Australia’s financial intelligence agency.

CBA admitted in part to failing to identify, monitor and report money transfers over A$10,000 ($7,566), in contravention of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

Without citing any sources, the AFR said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had accelerated a separate investigation, with plans in place to interview CBA’s chairman, Catherine Livingstone, and former chief executive, Ian Narev.

It was not clear whether either Narev or Livingstone had been interviewed yet.

A spokeswoman for CBA declined to comment on the specific details of the report.

“CBA continues to engage with ASIC regarding a number of matters and responds to requests made by the regulator. We won’t be commenting on any individual matter,” said the spokeswoman.

ASIC declined to confirm or deny the report.

“ASIC never comments on operational issues and that includes whether we are interviewing certain individuals,” said Matthew Abbott, a spokesman for ASIC.

The report comes just weeks after the release of a special government-appointed inquiry that excoriated Australia’s financial sector for misconduct.

Two dozen cases were referred to regulators for possible legal action.

($1 = 1.4106 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Tom Brown and Christopher Cushing)

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