Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Bank announced it had set aside $375 million for possible penalties arising from charges by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in relation to money laundering. Today, the bank and AUSTRAC announced they had agreed to a penalty of just under twice that, $700 million, as part of CBA's settlement with the regulator over years-long problems with its management and reporting of cash-deposit ATMs.
The bank will also pay some loose change to cover Austrac's costs -- $2.5 million. The result is about on par with earlier estimates based on speculation AUSTRAC wanted $1 billion, which probably accounts for why the CBA's share price lifted after this morning's announcement.
The Commonwealth now has the honour of the two largest penalties in Australian corporate history: this one, and the $1 billion indefinite extra capital penalty imposed on the bank on April 30 by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) after the review of the bank's culture by the financial regulator. Directors and senior management, starting with former CEO, Ian Narev have also departed the CBA this year in an unprecedented clean-out -- until the clean-out at AMP, where the chair, CEO, directors and senior managers have gone.