Money laundering charge: Australian bank receives sentence!

Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA), one of the four largest Australian banks, has failed to monitor suspicious transactions. The Australian Center for Transaction Reports and Analyzes (AUSTRAC) raised similar allegations last year. Among other things, between 2012 and 2015, more than 53,000 transfers of 10,000 Australian dollars or more are reported to AUSTRAC.  The CBA denied knowingly violating anti-money laundering laws. Rather, one spoke of a programming error in the ATM software. The bank admitted, however, that it had not acted with due care and thus made possible the 53,506 violations of anti-money laundering laws.

Noteworthy is the record fine, especially in relation to the continuing discussion about the use of cryptocurrencies to finance illegal activities. The CBA case shows that money laundering with fiat currencies is still common. This is mainly because cash ensures more anonymity than Bitcoin. The prejudice of complete anonymity of a Bitcoin address was last refuted by a study by the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar.

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The Qatari scientists ransacked 1,500 Hidden Services on the Tor network to collect 88 Bitcoin addresses. Further research in Twitter and the forum BitcoinTalk gave the researchers an additional 45,200 Wallet IDs. For some users, they did not have to go on any further: their profiles contained eg: This includes, for example, their private e-mail addresses, links to other social media pages and sometimes even information about their place of residence. Thus, Wallet IDs could be assigned to concrete persons with relatively little effort.

Since all Bitcoin transactions are irrevocably stored on the Blockchain, it can also understand illegal transactions. For the CBA case this means that the suspicious money movements would have been noticed immediately had the bank implemented a Blockchain. Although former CEO Narev already described the potential of Blockchain as “transformational” two years ago; However, he referred primarily to the aspect of cost savings for banks and customers.

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