The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has filed a civil suit against Commonwealth Bank for alleged money laundering and financial crime.
The regulator accused the bank of breaching Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act over 53,700 times, mainly associated with intelligent deposit machines (IDMs).
The bank may face a maximum fine of AUD18m ($14.2) for each of the contraventions, if proven, AUSTRAC said.
The regulator accused the bank of failing to report 53,506 transactions of $10,000 on time, and of failing to report $77m worth of suspicious transactions either on time or at all.
“Even after CBA became aware of suspected money laundering or structuring on CBA accounts, it did not monitor its customers to mitigate and manage money laundering/terrorism financing risk,” AUSTRAC said.
AUSTRAC also said that the bank failed to make an anti-money-laundering risk assessment before launching the ATMs in 2012.
In its response, the bank said that it is in discussions with AUSTRAC and cooperated with its requests.
“Over the same period we have worked to continuously improve our compliance and have kept AUSTRAC abreast of those efforts, which will continue,” the bank said in a statement.
The bank added that it is reviewing the nature of the proceedings and will reveal further details in due course.