CEO of Australia’s Westpac exits over money laundering scandal

CEO of Australia’s Westpac exits over money laundering scandal
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SYDNEY (Reuters) – The chief executive of Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp stepped down on Tuesday over a money laundering scandal involving child exploitation, just a day after he told staff it was “not a major issue” and that he intended to stay on.

The swift turnaround by U.S. born Brian Hartzer underscored how politically and publicly sensitive missteps by Australia’s big banks have become in the wake of a bruising public inquiry that found rampant profiteering in the industry.

Hartzer’s departure from Australia’s second largest lender, effective from Dec. 2, made Westpac the third of the country’s top four banks to lose its top executive in the past 18 months.

Regulator AUSTRAC last week launched legal action accusing Westpac of enabling 23 million payments in breach of anti-money laundering laws, including the facilitation of offshore payments relating to child exploitation.

Source: REUTERS

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