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Not good enough: BoQ caught out over money laundering compliance

Bank of Queensland is now under court-enforced undertakings to fix its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing compliance.

May 31, 2023, updated May 31, 2023
Bank of Queensland's profit plunged 70 per cent (Image: BOQ)

Bank of Queensland's profit plunged 70 per cent (Image: BOQ)

The bank is the latest in a string of companies, including major banks and casinos, that have been caught with below-par compliance.

Regulator AUSTRAC also fined Crown Casinos $450 million this week over the issue and rival casino operator Star Entertainment is facing its own reckoning on the issue after paying $100 million penalties to the NSW and Queensland governments.

BoQ would have to also add $50 million to its operational risk capital requirements.

BoQ was also facing separate investigations from banking regulator APRA.

Among the five findings of an investigation into BoQ, it was found that multiple members of the bank’s designated business group failed to consider money laundering and terrorism financing risk posed by their customers and failed to include risk management systems. They had also failed to monitor their clients to mitigate or manage money laundering and terrorism financing.

AUSTRAC chief executive Nicole Rose said that the two regulators had ensured the other would have visibility over the progress at BoQ.

“The actions undertaken by AUSTRAC and APRA in relation to BoQ highlight whole-of-government efforts to maintain the integrity of Australia’s banking system,” Rose said.

“Businesses which do not have a strong AML/CTF program in place are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals, which is why AUSTRAC has been working with BoQ to harden their processes.

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“I am pleased with BoQ’s co-operation over the past six months and their commitment to taking remedial action to ensure they meet their obligations under the AML/CTF Act.”

BoQ said it was committed to the remediation which also included an independent review to report on its remedial action.

It would also ensure accountability by including it in the scorecards for responsible staff.

Chair Warwick Negus said the bank would work proactively and transparently with regulators.

 

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