The chief executive of Australia’s second-biggest bank Westpac Mr.Brian Hartzer, has resigned on Tuesday over a money-laundering scandal. Brian Hartzer leaves the bank today as of Dec. 2, Westpac’s Board announced in a statement.
The board added that Hartzer would be paid out his full 2.7 million dollars (1.8 million U.S. dollars) salary for 2020, but would not receive bonuses expected for 2019.
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The move comes after Australia’s Federal Court last week agreed with the country’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC that Westpac had breached anti-money laundering and terrorist financing obligations.
The court found that the bank had breached the law 23 million times, including failing to monitor or report international transactions that allegedly involved sending money to child pornography operations overseas. According to Westpac, two other top-level figures at the bank will also step down.
Chairman Lindsay Maxsted will bring forward his retirement to early 2020 and the bank’s director Ewen Crouch will not seek re-election.
“As was appropriate, we sought feedback from our stakeholders, including shareholders, and having done so it became clear that the board and management changes were in the best interest of the bank,” said Maxsted in a statement on Tuesday morning.
The court will decide the bank’s punishment in February. Each breach could get a punishment between 17 million and 21 million dollars. Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt salute Hartzer’s resignation.
“I think it’s command salute, I think it’s suitable,” he told EbeNews correspondent in Sydney, adding that the allegations leveled against Westpac were “discouraging, horrifying, and unsatisfactory”. Said