Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Westpac Bank chief resigns over scandal

AP, PERTH, Australia

The chief executive of Australia’s second-biggest bank yesterday said that he plans to resign following accusations that Westpac Banking Corp committed 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws.

The nation’s financial crime regulator, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, is pursuing Westpac in the Federal Court of Australia for allegedly failing to report millions of international fund transfers, including payments allegedly linked to child exploitation in Southeast Asia.

Westpac chief executive officer Brian Hartzer was given 12 months’ notice and is still to receive his A$2.7 million salary (US$1.83 million).

However, he is to forfeit unvested bonuses and is ineligible for future bonuses.

He is the third top executive from the country’s four major banks to depart in the past 18 months amid the scandal-plagued Australian banking sector.

“As CEO, I accept that I am ultimately accountable for everything that happens at the bank, and it is clear that we have fallen well short of what the community expects of us, and we expect of ourselves,” Hartzer said in a statement.

Hartzer is to be replaced by Westpac chief financial officer Peter King as of Dec. 2.

King announced his retirement in September, but is to remain until a permanent replacement is appointed.

Amid the bloodletting, Westpac board chairman Lindsay Maxsted announced that he would bring forward his retirement to “the first half of 2020,” while long-standing director Ewen Crouch does not plan to seek re-election.

The bank is suspected of failing to report 19.5 million international fund transfers worth more than US$7 billion from November 2013 to September last year.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top