ClubsNSW whistleblower reveals the alarming scale of money laundering in pokies rooms at local clubs and pubs

Original article by Steve Cannane, Kyle Taylor, Clare Blumer
abc.net au – Page: Online : 14-Feb-20

Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie has claimed that up to 95 per cent of clubs in New South Wales are not complying with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws. He says this means they are operating illegally, and that he got this information from a ClubsNSW document that was provided to him by a whistleblower. Troy Stolz, a former ClubsNSW AML/CTF compliance auditor, claims that he was the source of the document. He says that money laundering through poker machines is rife in pubs and clubs across Australia. A ClubsNSW spokesperson has accused Wilkie of "anti-club hysteria".

CORPORATES
CLUBS NSW PTY LTD

Westpac faces class action over scandal

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 19 : 19-Dec-19

Law firm Phi Finney McDonald has filed a class action lawsuit against Westpac on behalf of retail and institutional investors. The firm will allege amongst other things that Westpac breached its continuous disclosure obligations by failing to properly inform prospective investors about Austrac’s concerns regarding its compliance with anti-money laundering laws. The class action is open to investors who bought Westpac shares between 16 December 2013 and 19 November 2019.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, PHI FINNEY McDONALD PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, WOODSFORD LITIGATION FUNDING, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, IMF BENTHAM LIMITED – ASX IMF

Westpac faces Philippines probe

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 11-Dec-19

Westpac’s money-laundering scandal has deepened, with the allegations regarding payments linked to child exploitation to be investigated by regulators in The Philippines. The nation’s Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has indicated that its Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking is investigation the allegations in partnership with anti-money-laundering agencies in both Australia and The Philippines. The scandal is likely to dominate Westpac’s annual meeting on 12 December.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, PHILIPPINES. DEPT OF JUSTICE, PHILIPPINES. ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Westpac open to settlement

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 10-Dec-19

The Federal Court has been told that Westpac and Austrac could potentially finalise a statement of agreed facts with regard to the bank’s breach of anti-money laundering laws by late February. Westpac has also advised that it will not contest the bulk of the 23 million civil charges that it is facing, which could allow the case to be settled quickly. Westpac is also under scrutiny by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, while the bank could face a board spill at its annual meeting.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Humbled Westpac faces shareholder anger

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 9-Dec-19

Some 64 per cent of votes cast at Westpac’s 2018 annual meeting rejected its remuneration report. The bank is likely to incur a second ‘strike’ at its 2019 annual meeting on 12 December, while the re-election of director Peter Marriott is uncertain in the wake of the scandal over breaches of anti-money laundering laws. However, Westpac is likely to avoid a resolution calling for a board spill. The Australian Shareholders’ Association and proxy adviser ISS will vote against the remuneration report, although the ASA will oppose any push to spill the board.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD, CGI GLASS LEWIS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Westpac told of payments weeks ago

Original article by Michael Roddan, Bridget Carter
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 29-Nov-19

Westpac has claimed that it was not aware of Austrac’s allegations regarding payments linked to child exploitation until 20 November, when the scandal was exposed. However, Austrac’s statement of claim shows that it specifically requested information from Westpac about such payments at least six weeks earlier. Meanwhile, Westpac has advised that it will allow retail investors to withdraw from a share purchase plan that was announced a week before Austrac filed civil proceedings against the bank.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, CLIME CAPITAL LIMITED – ASX CAM

Westpac papers reveal trail of human, IT failure

Original article by Aaron Patrick
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 28-Nov-19

Westpac’s confidential disclosures to Austrac show that it breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws some 29 million times. Austrac has accused the major bank of 23 million breaches, and the additional breaches cannot be prosecuted as they fall outside the statute of limitations. The documents also show that international money transfers with seven global banks had not been reported since 2011, due to problems with a computer system upgrade that began in 2010. However, Westpac did not become aware of the problem until May 2017, and it was not reported to Austrac until August 2018.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Westpac’s Austrac scandal differs from other institutions

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Australian – Page: 29 : 26-Nov-19

Westpac’s scandal is completely different to scandals that cost the jobs of top executives at the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and AMP in recent years. Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted says that the board had no prior warning of Austrac’s legal action or the specific nature of its allegations. However, Austrac alleges that Westpac was aware of concerns about payments linked to child exploitation as far back as 2013. The question arises as to whether CEO Brian Hartzer was aware of these concerns and withheld this from the board.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP

Investors demand action by Westpac

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 26-Nov-19

Nathan Parkin of Ethical Partners Funds Management contends that some at a high level at Westpac needs to be held accountable for the financial penalties that will arise from its massive breach of anti-money laundering laws. Meanwhile, one of Westpac’s 20 largest shareholders believes that CEO Brian Hartzer will not be to able to remain at the helm in the wake of the scandal. Westpac’s share price has fallen by 8.8 per cent since the scandal was revealed.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, ETHICAL PARTNERS FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, PLATO INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED, NORGES BANK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, BLACKROCK INCORPORATED, THE VANGUARD GROUP INCORPORATED

Stay calm, this is no Enron

Original article by Peter Van Onselen, Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 26-Nov-19

Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer has told his executive team that there is no need to "overcook" the money-laundering and child exploitation scandal that has embroiled the bank. He has argued that it is not a major issue for "people in mainstream Australia". Sources have also indicated that Hartzer has told executives to focus on issues such as lifting Westpac’s net promoter score and writing more home loans. He is also said to have downplayed any comparisons to Enron and Lehman Brothers.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, VICTORIA. DEPT OF TREASURY AND FINANCE