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TOPIC: Westpac pedophile abuse scandal

Westpac pedophile abuse scandal 1 month 5 days ago #4454

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Westpac linked to international paedophilia case after Australian man charged
By Chris Vedelago and Sarah Danckert
January 16, 2020 — 11.30pm

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Westpac has been linked to an international paedophilia case following the arrest of a notorious Australian sex offender who is suspected of using the bank’s transfer system to pay for live-streamed child abuse videos in south-east Asia.

It is the first instance where an attempt to procure abuse of a child has been tied to Westpac’s failure to heed warnings since 2016 from money laundering watchdog AUSTRAC that lax standards for its LitePay and other money transfer systems could be used to facilitate the international child sex trade.

The Victorian man allegedly attempted to arrange for a child to be exploited in a south-east Asian country recently. It is not known whether the alleged abuse went ahead.
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The criminal charges against the man come after Westpac had been privately suggesting to the market since the scandal broke in late November that there was no evidence any act of child exploitation had occurred despite more than 3000 suspicious payments being identified.
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The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been arrested and charged by the Australian Federal Police with soliciting child abuse material and possessing child abuse material.

Police are still examining thousands of the man's private social media messages.

The AFP declined to comment because the matter is before the courts.

Legal restrictions prevent the publication of details of the case, except that the man allegedly used Westpac systems to send tens of thousands of dollars to a south-east Asian country in more than 100 transactions since late 2018 and recently attempted to solicit live-streamed child sex abuse.

The man has denied any wrongdoing.
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The registered sex offender had already served a substantial jail term for ordering live-streamed child sex abuse from contacts in a south-east Asian country.

A Westpac spokesman said the bank was unable to provide comment on specific matters while proceedings are before the court.

“We have made a number of changes to our transaction monitoring to lift our standards and ensure our financial crime processes meet our obligations,” he said. “Westpac is working co-operatively to resolve this matter with AUSTRAC.”

The revelation will be a further blow to the embattled institution, which has already lost its chief executive Brian Hartzer, experienced massive share price drops and suffered an intense backlash from the public, politicians and shareholders.

Westpac announced on Thursday that it had appointed Colin Carter, president of the Geelong Football Club, as the third member of an advisory panel reviewing the bank board's risk, governance and accountability.
The Victorian man is alleged to have used the bank’s transfer system to pay for live-streamed child abuse videos in south-east Asia.

The Victorian man is alleged to have used the bank’s transfer system to pay for live-streamed child abuse videos in south-east Asia.Credit:AAP

The federal and state police Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team has been investigating numerous referrals about Australian-based sex offenders since AUSTRAC launched civil proceedings against Westpac in November 2019 for committing 23 million violations of anti-money laundering laws stemming back to 2013.

Among AUSTRAC's allegations are that Westpac should have detected the activities of at least 12 customers, including a convicted child abuser, who were making transactions through the bank’s systems “consistent with child exploitation typologies” since 2013, according to Federal Court documents.

AUSTRAC claims Westpac was specifically warned in late 2016 about the risk of international funds transfers being used to purchase child exploitation material, a risk that the bank had already identified internally regarding its LitePay and other payment systems earlier that year.

It is alleged Westpac repeatedly failed to implement an “adequate” system for detecting and responding to financial activities potentially related to child exploitation, at least until June 2018.

Even then, AUSTRAC claims, suspicious transfers still occurred for some customers into 2019 that were “indicative of child exploitation typologies”.

The bank’s alert system identified some of these transactions but no action was taken.

In one case, AUSTRAC alleged that Westpac became aware of one customer’s convictions for child sex abuse in June 2019 but allowed them to continue to send money to the Philippines.

Financial institutions are legally required to monitor for, prevent and report to authorities any suspicious financial transactions under anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws.
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During Westpac’s annual general meeting chairman Linsday Maxsted, who following the AUSTRAC allegations announced his intention to retire, said the bank “absolutely accepts responsibility” for its errors.

“It’s these claims that have deeply affected all of us. That a possible failing of the bank could put anyone at risk of harm is incredibly upsetting and completely at odds with everything that Westpac stands for.

“Westpac’s monitoring had identified and filed suspicious matter reports for the customers outlined in AUSTRAC’s claims. However, we acknowledge we should have implemented more robust transaction monitoring earlier than we did. This would have generated more suspicious matter reports to AUSTRAC.”

LitePay, which Westpac has now shut down, is a low-cost payment system for making international money transfers up to $3000.

AUSTRAC case against Westpac continues in the Federal Court.
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Westpac pedophile abuse scandal 3 weeks 19 hours ago #4459

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Westpac Hit With Class-Action Suit in U.S. Linked to Money-Laundering Case

By Reuters

Feb. 1, 2020

(Reuters) - Australia's No. 2 lender Westpac Banking Corp said on Saturday a class-action lawsuit, naming former Chief Executive Brian Hartzer and interim CEO Peter King as defendants, has been filed in a U.S. court on behalf of its shareholders.

The lender said the lawsuit represented purchasers of Westpac's shares on the New York Stock Exchange between Nov. 11, 2015 to Nov. 19 and sought to recover damages related to disclosure issues with its financial crime monitoring and a recent money laundering scandal.

Australian financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC hit Westpac with a lawsuit in November, accusing it of 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws and facilitating payments between known child abusers.

After the bank's two top executives stepped down following charges by the regulator, it appointed former Barclays boss John McFarlane as chairman to steer it through the seething scandal.

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The class action, filed by U.S.-based Rosen Law Firm, is for an unspecified amount, the company said, and cautioned that other similar lawsuits may follow.

In December, Australian law firm Phi Finney McDonald filed a court case over market disclosure issues connected to the bank's monitoring of financial crime and the AUSTRAC proceedings.

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(Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
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Westpac and the anti terrorist Patriot Act 2 weeks 5 days ago #4462

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