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Major Australian bank found in breach of money-laundering laws – Editor

A recent ABC News report by Andrew Robertson [1] has revealed that CBA (the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) is facing potential fines of about a trillion dollars for nearly 54,000 breaches of Australia’s money-laundering laws. The breaches date back to 2012.

This is about seven times the bank’s current market value. If such massive fines come into effect then the bank will simply not be able to pay them and will become insolvent. If that happens then it will be of more than passing interest to see how the Federal Government will handle the crisis.

According to the money-laundering watchdog, AUSTRAC, “the effect of CommBank’s conduct in this matter has exposed the Australian community to serious and ongoing financial crime” [1].

Banks are meant to be the watchdog for suspicious activity involving criminals and money. For example, in the current climate it’s a key plank in the fight against terrorism.

The CBA was originally a public asset and was privatised by Paul Keating’s Government on the grounds that the private sector could do a better job than the public sector. Many now realise that this expectation has not worked out as Keating envisaged. A range of financial scandals during the past two decades has resulted in recent calls for a Royal Commission into the banking system, and those calls are growing louder.

1. Source: ABC News, 3 August 2017

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