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Westpac CEO survives and promises independent review into ‘massive failure’

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The CEO of Westpac is still standing and has promised an independent review after millions of breaches of anti-money laundering laws were discovered.

The bank is being taken to court by the financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, accused of breaching the laws 23 million times over the past five years.

Westpac also allegedly failed to vet thousands of transactions which may have funded child pornography and live child sex shows in south-east Asia.

The bank is facing a penalty of more than a billion dollars.

The board has stood by CEO Brian Hartzer, who has faced pressure to stand down. They have instead promised an independent review into the breaches.

Former ACCC chairman Allan Fels, who Ross Greenwood describes as “almost a perfect person to be this independent reviewer”, says they need to appoint someone with good public credentials to carry out the job.

“I’d look very closely at who they get to do it. Is it someone within the establishment?

“The questions are really serious. How there was such massive failure in so many dimensions and also what should be done at the top level of the bank?”

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Image: Getty/Peter Parks