Partner Bambos Tsiattalou comments on the recent Westpac money laundering scandal in relation to flaws in current anti-money laundering practices and systems used by banks.
Bambos’ comments were published in Michael West News, 22 November 2019, and can be found here.
“The Australian anti-money laundering (AML) regulator’s case against Westpac for more than 23 million alleged reporting breaches will shine an international spotlight on SWIFT data reporting avoidance. Anti-money laundering experts have said the case will provide an unprecedented view into the processes that banks put in place to circumvent the SWIFT MT202 COV obligations, which took effect in 2009.
Bambos Tsiattalou, a UK-based criminal defence lawyer at Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, said the rest of the world would be watching AUSTRAC’s case against Westpac closely.
“Regulators have been pressing banks and other financial institutions to strengthen their AML/CFT practices and systems for years. Failing to prevent money laundering over a long period of time highlights a systemic problem within the banking sector,” he said.
“The due diligence that banks carry out on clients and complex transactions can be perfunctory, and lacking in real depth and understanding. While processes and monitoring systems are important, human intelligence is often crucial in detecting issues.””