Commonwealth Bank faces class action over money launder allegations


Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev will retire by the end of the 2018 financial year.

Customers use a CommBank ATM in Brisbane. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

COMMONWEALTH Bank is facing the country’s largest ever shareholder class action over a share price rout in the wake of explosive money laundering allegations.

The nation’s largest bank was earlier this month accused of more than 53,000 breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

The breaches, which the bank has blamed on a single IT error, related to tens of thousands of dollars in cash deposited in CommBank ATMs by money laundering syndicates and sent overseas.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn has teamed up with litigation funder IMF Bentham to pursue CBA in a potential class action on behalf of the bank’s 800,000 shareholders, who suffered a share price drop of about 5 per cent after the allegations were made public.

Maurice Blackburn alleges the bank breached its continuous disclosure obligations by failing to inform the market when the issues first came to light in 2015.

“Our investigations and analysis show that this drop was in the top one per cent of price movements that CBA experienced in the past five years, making it apparent that the news was of material significance to shareholders,” Maurice Blackburn national head of class actions Andrew Watson said in a statement on Wednesday.

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