Macquarie Group, Commonwealth Bank face contemporary cash laundering scrutiny after ICIJ information leak



The three banks on the centre of the “FinCEN Files” leak: Bank of New York Mellon (BNY), Barclays and Standard Charted, all filed the experiences with anti-money laundering authorities within the US as a part of their reporting necessities.

Banks world wide are required to report suspicious transactions to anti-money laundering regulators to stamp out soiled cash dealings, together with the funding of terrorism and organised crime actions, akin to drug dealing and tax evasion.

It will not be clear whether or not the Australian banks reported the transactions to the native cash laundering regulator AUSTRAC. Anti-money laundering legal guidelines dictate that any fee over $10,000 should be reported to authorities as doubtlessly suspicious in addition to transactions which are indicative of potential crimes, akin to an account making a number of smaller funds to keep away from the $10,000 detection threshold.

CBA settled a large civil case introduced by AUSTRAC over the financial institution’s failure to report suspicious transactions for $700 million in 2018. It will not be clear whether or not the transactions included within the ICIJ report shaped a part of the monetary intelligence company’s case.

Macquarie has confronted no court docket motion from AUSTRAC and a senior government with the financial institution, Greg Ward, mentioned in 2019 that it had no excellent issues with the native money-laundering regulator.

The CBA funds element the worldwide attain of Australia’s largest financial institution. BNY flagged seven funds totalling $US90,000 to CBA account holders from the Primorye Bank, situated within the far jap Russian metropolis of Vladivostok, close to the border with North Korea.

BNY additionally flagged eight funds totalling $US77,800 to CBA accounts from the Kazakhstan Bank CenterCredit. The New York financial institution additionally flagged a $US41,180 fee {that a} CBA account holder acquired from Latvian financial institution BlueOrange (named within the information beneath its former buying and selling identify Baltikums Bank). Payments from Deustche Bank’s Czech arm to CBA totalling over $US40 million have been additionally flagged by BNY.

The cache additionally exhibits numerous doubtlessly structured transactions despatched from Barclay’s Hong Kong arm to CBA in 2016 and from UK financial institution NatWest’s arm within the tax haven of Gibraltar.

BNY flagged 94 probably suspicious transactions involving Macquarie in 2016. This included a report on 9 transactions flowing from Macquarie to Citibank’s Singapore workplace totalling $US55.eight million and one other seven transactions to the identical financial institution totalling $US48 million.

BNY additionally flagged 76 funds totalling $US17.9 million from Macquarie to Barclays in Britain and two funds from National Australia Bank to a Macquarie account holder totalling greater than $US1.5 million. BNY additionally flagged 4 transactions totalling almost $US500,000 flowing from CBA to present AUSTRAC goal Westpac.

A spokesman for CBA mentioned the financial institution labored carefully with legislation enforcement our bodies and on account of laws it couldn’t share the details about any specific buyer.

“We are committed to ensuring that we take appropriate steps to identify, mitigate and manage the money laundering and terrorism financing risk that we face in conducting our business.”

“We recognise that we play a critical role in protecting our customers and the community from the risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing.”

A spokeswoman for Macquarie mentioned: “While it’s illegal to touch upon the specifics of suspicious exercise reporting, as a world monetary establishment, Macquarie is dedicated to serving to forestall the usage of the monetary system to facilitate criminality and has invested in programs and other people to detect, forestall and report any exercise of a suspicious nature, working carefully with authorities companies world wide.

“This contains complete self-reporting of transactions to related regulators. Macquarie can also be a founding member of the Fintel Alliance, the public-private partnership sponsored by AUSTRAC bringing collectively intelligence and enforcement companies and trade within the struggle in opposition to monetary crime.”

A spokeswoman for AUSTRAC mentioned it’s conscious of reporting by ICIJ however didn’t touch upon operational issues or present particular data relating to suspicious matter experiences.

“Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act), reporting entities are required by legislation to determine, mitigate and handle the danger of their enterprise, services or products being exploited by criminals, and report back to AUSTRAC.”

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An earlier model of this text introduced the figures included within the ICIJ report in Australian {dollars}. It has now been corrected to point out the figures in US {dollars}.

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