Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer to step down

Westpac CEO steps down over money-laundering scandal

Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer to step down

Australian banking giant Westpac has sacked its chief executive over the money laundering scandal which threatens to cost the bank hundreds of millions of dollars.

The bank is facing a potentially massive fine over claims that it failed to report millions of global fund transfers, including "high-risk transactions" to Southeast Asian nations potentially linked to child exploitation.

However, his so-far unvested short and long-term bonuses will not be paid and he will not be eligible for any future bonuses.

Two top executives at Westpac (WBK), one of Australia's biggest banks, are out after the company was hit with extensive claims that it had systematically allowed money laundering on its watch.

"As appropriate, we solicited feedback from our stakeholders, including shareholders, and it became clear that changes to the board and management were in the best interest of the bank", mentioned Maxsted.

Meanwhile, chief financial officer Peter King will take over as acting CEO of the bank. King introduced his retirement in September however will stay till a everlasting alternative is appointed.

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Within the midst of the bloodshed, President Lindsay Maxsted introduced that he'll postpone his retirement to "the first half of 2020", whereas longtime director, Ewen Crouch, is not going to search to be reelected.

Among the most damaging allegations against Westpac, the regulator accused bank executives of "indifference" to clear evidence that some worldwide transfers were used to fund child exploitation.

In theory, Westpac could face a fine up to 483 trillion Australian dollars (US $330 trillion).

The agency alleges that Westpac broke the law more than 23 million times, each time in theory "attracting a civil penalty" of between 17 million and 21 million Australian dollars.

The CEO of Westpac has fallen on his sword over the latest scandal rocking the bank.

"The alleged breaches which had been leveled at Westpac are very severe, each and every in phrases of the numbers of these alleged breaches, but also the persona of them", he educated reporters on Tuesday.

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"I think it's welcome, I think it's appropriate", cabinet minister Greg Hunt told Sky News on Tuesday.

"The behaviour at Westpac under Brian Hartzer's leadership was nothing short of disgraceful", shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers told reporters in Canberra.

"I think it's necessary and it follows the strongest, clearest comments from the Prime Minister and the Treasurer about community expectations, government expectations in the face of what is a serious and profound breach".

In response to the accusations, Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter said failing to abide by money-laundering laws has the potential to facilitate "the most horrendous crimes". That case was eventually settled with the bank paying a record A$700 million fine.

Westpac's shares edged up 1.2% in early trade on Tuesday, having slumped 8% over the previous four trading days since the regulator announced its lawsuit, wiping A$7.5 billion off the bank's market capitalisation.

The scandal is likely to be front and center at Westpac's annual general meeting, scheduled for December 12., although Hartzer's exit might dampen some of the fireworks.

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