ING Bank Australia has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) from financial crimes investigation and intelligence agency AUSTRAC after a suspected breach of Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
ING confirmed that it self-identified and voluntarily reported the potential breaches to AUSTRAC back in August 2020, and has agreed to work with the regulator to uplift its AML/CTF compliance program.
“We have since prioritised implementing a well-resourced uplift program to address [these shortcomings],” ING chief executive Melanie Evans said in a statement.
She added: “AUSTRAC acknowledges we have made significant steps to improve our anti-money laundering compliance measures and made substantial investment in programs of work, all so we can better detect, deter and disrupt the flow of illegal money through the financial system.”
Investigations by AUSTRAC, conducted after ING’s self-reporting of the potential breach, identified concerns around the bank’s AML/CTF program, monitoring systems and controls, and mandated reporting obligations to AUSTRAC.
To maintain compliance with local AML/CTF laws, all reporting entities, including all banks with operations in Australia, are required to maintain records of financial transactions, KYC procedures, and their existing AML/CTF program in place.
AUSTRAC confirmed that “ING have undertaken to continue their work to improve their AML/CTF governance and assurance controls and ensure they remain fit for purpose into the future”, including the uplifting of ING’s AML/CTF program, ML/TF risk assessment, international funds transfer instruction (IFTI) and suspicious matter reports (SMR) reporting, and transaction monitoring.
As part of the EU, ING Australia (consisting of ING Bank Australia and ING Bank Sydney Branch) will be required to undertake a Remedial Action Plan (consisting of a review and uplift of governance and assurance controls associated with the bank’s AML/CTF compliance) and appoint an external auditor to assess the outcome of the action plan.
AUSTRAC chief executive, Nicole Rose, confirmed that “ING have been fully cooperating with AUSTRAC throughout our regulatory inquiries and have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to addressing concerns about the effectiveness of their AML/CTF systems and controls”.
“I would like to acknowledge the significant work already undertaken by ING in identifying and implementing improvements to their programs.
“We look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure they meet their obligations under the AML/CTF Act.”