Westpac Banking Corporation Investor Alert

by | Feb 11, 2020 | securities | 0 comments

Lowey Dannenberg reminds investors that they have until March 30, 2020 to seek to be appointed as the lead plaintiff in a securities class action against Westpac Banking Corporation (“Westpac”), if they purchased the company’s American Depository Receipts (ADRs) (NYSE: WBK) between November 11, 2015 and November 19, 2019, inclusive (the “Class Period”). This action is pending in the United States District Court of Oregon.

Westpac provides a broad range of banking and financial services throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific Region. The lawsuit results from the disclosure on Nov 19, 2019 that the Westpac is being sued by Australia’s financial crime watchdog the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (“AUSTRAC”) for over 23 million breaches of Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2006 (“Act”). AUSTRAC claims that among other violations, Westpac (1) failed to report over 19.5 million International Funds Transfer Instructions (“IFTIs”), (2) failed to perform enhanced due diligence on correspondent banks in high-risk jurisdictions, and (3) potentially provided services used to exploit children in South East Asia and the Philippines. AUSTRAC asserts that the company is required by statute to report IFTIs to AUSTRAC within 10 business days but ignored its obligations for more than 5 years. AUSTRAC also claims that at least since 2013, Westpac was aware of the heightened child exploitation risks with frequent low value payments to the Philippines and South East Asia and in June 2016, senior management was specifically briefed on these risks with respect to LitePay, a low value transaction channel of Westpac.

The class action lawsuit alleges that Westpac repeatedly publicly misrepresented that it was in compliance with the numerous laws that governed its business operations, while concealing that the company was engaged in potentially criminal violations of the Anti-Money Laundering statute. Following these revelations, Westpac ADRs dropped from $18.01 on Nov 19 to $16.67 on Nov 22, 2019, losing tens of millions of dollars in market value.  Investors who purchased Westpac ADRs during Class Period and sustained a financial loss may be eligible to apply to be lead plaintiff until March 30, 2020. If you would like to join the litigation, please contact Barbara Hart, Lowey Dannenberg, at 924-733-7227.