Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Friday, 29 November 2019

Incoming Westpac chief executive promises action on money laundering scandal

Westpac’s new CEO has vowed to “get to the bottom” of the massive money laundering compliance scandal that has engulfed the Australian bank, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Peter King, who will replace current head Brian Hartzer when he steps down on 2 December, reportedly told staff the bank’s leaders would investigate allegations it breached the country’s anti-money laundering law more than 23 million times. 

Westpac faces multiple investigations and civil penalty proceedings over the offences, which carry a potential maximum total fine of AUS$483 trillion.

Huawei CFO fears presidential meddling if her extradition hearing is broadcast

Lawyers for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou are attempting to stop media outlets broadcasting her extradition trial in Canada because they fear US President Donald Trump will interfere with the case, the National Post reports.

David Martin of Martin and Associates in Vancouver, representing Meng, has reportedly argued that broadcasting her trial “amplifies the risk that the President of the United States will once again intervene in the [her] case”.

President Trump threatened to intervene in Meng’s case in December 2018 as part of an ongoing US trade deal with China.

The US Justice Department wants to extradite Meng to face charges of fraud and facilitating Iranian sanctions violations. She denies any wrongdoing. Meng and Huawei have denied wrongdoing. 


Brazilian prosecutors given green light to access tax and banking data

Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) can access private tax and banking details without applying for a warrant.

Supreme Court Judge Dias Toffoli stopped information sharing between Brazil’s Financial Intelligence Unit, the Inland Revenue Servie of Brazil, Council for Financial Activities Control and the MPF without judicial approval in July.

The ruling came following a request from Flávio Bolsonaro – the son of Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro – who is facing a corruption investigation into suspicious payments made to his former driver. He has denied wrongdoing. 

The decision means the four agencies will be allowed to freely share data as before. In a statement the MPF said the decision will allow over 900 active investigations to proceed.

Australian regulators agree to cooperate more closely

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) have published a memorandum of understanding that says they will improve cooperation and information sharing.

In a statement, APRA chairman Wayne Byres said: “ASIC and APRA share an interest in protecting the financial wellbeing of the Australian community and achieving a fair, sound and resilient financial system.”

Australia’s Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry criticised both regulators for failing to detect and stop financial misconduct.

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