back to article Commonwealth Bank: Buggy software made us miss money laundering

Australia's Commonwealth Bank has blamed a software update for a money laundering scam that saw criminals send over AU$70m (US$55m, £42.5m) offshore after depositing cash into automatic teller machines. News of the Bank's involvement in the laundering scam broke last week, when Australia's financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC …

Note Denominations (@keith_w)

And are such notes in common distribution ($1000, $500, $200)?

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slamming down 1,000 $10 notes

Would be very difficult to wear the anon mask in that event.

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IT Angle

Re: Note Denominations (@keith_w)

Biggest note in Australia is $100. So two tranches of the max of 50 notes at a time to hit the $10k.

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Anonymous Coward

You have never worked...

At a bank, shop or self employed then? Some customers will pay in pennies. Other customers will draw and pay in large cash denominations every time. If these were out of hours ATMs as well, then it is extremely easy to choose quiet times.

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Anonymous Coward

Denominations

In Canada the largest is $1000. However, any account with more than 10,000 cash is flagged regardless of transactions taking place.

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Re: Denominations

"In Canada the largest is was $1000. However, any account with more than 10,000 cash is flagged regardless of transactions taking place."

And it looks as though any transaction involving old $1000 bills will get noticed. More info here:

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/the-hunt-for-canadas-1000-bills-there-are-nearly-a-million-left-most-in-the-hands-of-criminal-elites/wcm/5827c613-4297-43fa-9eb1-2dd768a3ca1c

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Trouble is the CBA's coders do get a lot right. CBA internet banking web portal and phone apps are the , better the offering of ANZ, Lloyds, Barclays , the best most useful and slickest I have ever found. compared to any other bank I have used here in UK or Australia.

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If the law prevails, they should be fined out of existence.

If politics are involved, they'll just get a slap on the wrist.

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Unhappy

CBA lost $650000 of my money!

I've never trusted Commonwealth Bank since they managed to lose $650000 of my money in 2001 (OK I got it back eventually)

When I emigrated in late 2000, I sold my house in England and, on the advice of my local adviser, I put the money on deposit at CBA. I didn't understand the process of buying a house in Australia so, when I bought a house over here, I trusted CBA to handle all the paperwork. About 2 months later I received an eviction notice! It appears they had set me up with a large line-of-credit mortgage. The money I had brought over from England had apparently vanished, so no repayments were coming in. When I called them, they apologised for a "small paperwork error" and promised to sort it all out. A month later I received another eviction notice, and the money from England was still nowhere to be seen. That's when I threatened to call the police, citing evidence of fraud. The reaction from my neighbours and colleagues was interesting, generally along the lines of "Yeah, mate, this happens all the time. Lots of immigrants lose all their money. You just have to put up with it". There was also some comment along the lines of "How dare you foreigners attack our great Australian banks". The bank's response was that I had obviously attempted some sort of currency fraud, and I only had myself to blame.

Eventually it was sorted out. It appears that my branch was closed just as the house purchase was going through, and some paperwork was mis-filed when my accounts were transferred to another branch. The $650000 was eventually found (in a non-interest-bearing account!), and I used it to pay off the mortgage, which I had never needed in the first place. I wasted thousands in stamp duty, conveyancer's fees, lost interest etc, but I finally got the deeds back in my hands. CBA never officially admitted any responsibility, although one branch manager told me, strictly unofficially, that she was "livid" with how the bank had treated me.

They put one last sting in the tail, which I only found out very recently. Last year I took out a mortgage to help my daughter buy her house. It turned out that CBA still had a caveat on my deeds, which they had "forgotten" to remove. That cost me a few hundred to fix.

CBA! Not happy!

P.S. The other banks over here aren't much better. Last year I donated $50 to the Mozilla Foundation from my Westpac account. Westpac responded to this "suspicious transaction" by freezing my account. They didn't give me any warning, or even tell me that they'd done it. I only found out when I started getting calls from people whose payments had bounced. When I phoned Westpac, their response was that I should be grateful for their "alertness" in responding to an unusual transaction.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CBA lost $650000 of my money!

I smell a bit of poo here.

As if you wouldn't have been paying very close attention to what you were doing here as opposed to just trusting everything was going to be just fine and dandy. You didnt keep an eye on your accounts to make sure your mortgage payments were going through? I mean come on who does that?

I am not saying that CBA have not screwed up but your complacency is a part of the problem here.

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Anonymous Coward

Not just a business process failure

>quite clearly a business process failure.

More than that I think.

It may have been a business decision to provide minimum funding to these systems that doesn't make money for them, hence the business process failure. The system is there to comply with Australian financial regulation, and which the banks have to bear the cost of its development and running.

Had it been a system that does make money for the bank then they would have made sure that the system was verified and validated three times over.

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ignorance is no excuse for lack of governance

Never underestimate the power of situation normal to cause issues to lie for a very long time. 3 years is well long enough for a missing report to become institutionalised as 'typical', get a bit of turnover in staff and like anything else, the knowledge is lost.

I can't tell if the bank is simply arrogant, grossly incompetent, negligent or genuinely complicit at this point. Perhaps it's a mixture. That's far far too long for it to be purely "a coding issue"; it's a SYSTEMIC issue, and heads should absolutely roll.

There's been some talk of people taking some pay cuts or some such, but making this all just go away with a "software glitch" excuse is hand-waving in the extreme. Not for 3 years, m8. That's just plain old fashioned negligence.

The bank has history at this point; so I have every expectation that there is more going on than a 'code issue'.

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Not news to Australians perhaps, but... the opposition Labor party has promised that one of their first acts on getting in next time, will be to set up a standing Royal Commission (big government backed investigation) into banking and the finance industry. The Liberal National Coalition (The main Australian right-wing conservative party, who are currently in government) have howled and screamed that this is unnecessary and expensive and a waste and a nasty thing to do to their biggest donors...

On the same day this appeared in the papers, we had a report of a couple of Liberal Party people who used a phone, to bug a conversation, at a meeting. The meeting was to hand over a donation to the Liberals, from the Mafia. Now reports of that have partly been taken down again, due to a heavy-weight legal onslaught from the Liberal Party. Exactly where the truth lays, I'm not sure - but it was reported, even in the ABC, Australia's version of the Beeb.

At the same time, we are having a circus about same sex marriage. That would be alright, except there's more going on than meets the eye. The previous Lib PM, Tony Abbot, is trying to destabilise and replace the current Lib PM, Malcolm Turnbull, in as many ways and as many settings as he can, and the mess and the muddle over same sex marriage has become a political instrument for Tony Abbot to roll his boss, the man who rolled him. So we have Tony Abbot and his supporters doing every dirty sneaky trick they can think of, to sabotage the business of legalising gay marriage, and delay it, and put a spanner in the works, because it provides a backdrop for them to have a night-of-the-long-knives against the other Liberal faction who rolled them about a year and a half ago. All of which provides good political theatre, unless you're gay.

So, in one day, the Liberal Party are protecting the Commonwealth Bank, taking a bribe - sorry, donation - from the Mafia, (we have a recording) and using gay marriage to roll their current leader in favour of their previous leader.

And no, I don't know that the current Australian Labor Party are a whole lot better, but I will be extremely glad to see the back end of this set of clowns.

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