Dumped & # 39; whistleblower & # 39; van Westpac Amanda Wood accuses bosses of being driven by power and money
Dumping Westpac & # 39; whistleblower & # 39; accuses bosses of being driven by & # 39; status, money and power & # 39; at the expense of protecting their customers
- Westpac is in trouble after it has not reported millions of international payments
- Amanda Wood was a compliance officer who told the regulator about infringements
- She spoke for the first time about the scandal and beaten her former bosses
- Mrs. Wood suggested that executives care more about power and money than about rules
A dumped & # 39; whistleblower & # 39; van Westpac has beaten her former bosses as driven by & # 39; status, power and money & # 39 ;.
Amanda Wood, the former anti-corruption employee of Westpac, told the regulators in July 2018 that the bank had failed to report millions of international payments to be declared under anti-money laundering legislation.
A government investigation has shown that 12 customers may have purchased child pornography from Asian criminals and now the bank faces a fine of more than $ 1 billion.
& # 39; Whistleblower & # 39 ;: Amanda Wood was Westpac compliance manager who reported that millions of international payments were not declared
Mrs. Wood was in charge of Westpac's response to the investigation – but in May of this year, after government agency AUSTRAC had told executives that the violations were very serious, she was told that her position would be taken by someone with more experience.
Instead of accepting a role with less responsibility for the same wage, she took a severance pay and now works for a financial regulation consultancy.
She spoke about the scandal for the first time AFR that Westpac bosses were more concerned about reputation damage than solving the problem.
She said: & # 39; The first reaction was not really about & # 39; how do we solve this? & # 39;
& # 39; The answer was at least partly about: & # 39; how do we get out of this? How do we divert attention "
Mrs. Wood suggested that Westpac is consumed by a culture in which compliance laws are treated as an obstacle rather than a social good.
& # 39; My fear is that the thing that drives Westpac and the problem at the bank is that people at the top are driven by status, power and money and they don't understand that the obligations have a social purpose, & # 39; she said.
Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer (photo) resigned because of the scandal
& # 39; The attitude at the bank is: & # 39; how do i avoid the debt? & # 39; not & # 39; how do I resolve it? & # 39; Because if the debt is attached to me, my status and money will be affected by it. & # 39;
Mrs. Wood claimed that bosses did not take the infringements seriously. & # 39; The conversation around the management table was that they were small, low-risk transactions and it is not as bad as a CBA, & # 39; she said, referring to the CBA fine of $ 700 million for not reporting payments last year.
Mrs. Wood's departure from the bank is likely to be investigated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
After Labor MP Andrew Leigh called her a whistleblower in Parliament on Monday, APRA President Wayne Byres said: I think we will certainly be interested in such issues. Where warnings were not listened to, this would be of interest to us. & # 39;
Ms. Wood's allegations that Westpac bosses did not take the breaches seriously came after CEO Brian Hartzer resigned last week after telling the employees that the public didn't care.
Holding onto power, he told executives in an hour-long meeting to stay calm and sell more mortgages.
& # 39; For people in mainstream Australia who continue their daily lives, this is not a big issue, so we don't have to overcook this & he said.
Referring to two of the most infamous collapses in global financial history, he told executives that the scandal & no Enron or Lehman Brothers & # 39; used to be.
The American energy company Enron collapsed in 2001 and the CEO was imprisoned for 14 years for fraud and insider trading. Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 with $ 619 billion in debt.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Westpac for comments.
The Westpac scandal: bank stands for $ 483 trillion in fines
On Wednesday, November 20, regulators accused Westpac of & # 39; serious and systemic & # 39; infringements of money laundering legislation.
The Australian financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, said it had taken legal action against Westpac because it failed to report more than 19.5 million international money transfers, including & # 39; risky transactions & # 39; to Southeast Asian countries that may be related to child exploitation.
All in all, Westpac has broken the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing law 23 million times, said Nicole Rose, chief of AUSTRAC.
She did not comment on a possible punishment and said it was a matter for the courts.
But in its submission to the Federal Court, AUSTRAC noted that each of the 23 million infringements imposes a civil fine between AUD $ 17 million and AUD $ 21 million, which theoretically imposes fines for up to AU $ 483 trillion in fines.
The world economy was worth nearly US $ 86 trillion (AUD $ 127 trillion) in 2018, according to the World Bank.
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