Westpac faces additional allegations in laundering case

SYDNEY: Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp said on Friday it was notified by the financial crime watchdog that it may include additional allegations of wrongdoing in its case against the lender for breaching anti-money laundering laws.

In a bombshell lawsuit in November, the country’s second-largest bank was sued by Austrac for 23 million alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws, including payments between known child exploiters.

Westpac said in a statement that Austrac was further looking into matters including suspicious transactions for 272 customers that it had previously self-reported and may include allegations arising from these investigations.

Earlier this month, Westpac said an internal investigation had concluded that child exploitation payments made through its system were the result of “faults of omission” and not intentional wrongdoing.

A further hearing on the case is scheduled to take place on June 17.

Austrac didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

Westpac shares fell as much as 6.1% on Friday morning to a more than one-week low of A$17.38, against a broader market that was down 2.6%.