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Westpac Banking Corporation Class Action Lawsuit

Case Summary

Company Name
Westpac Banking Corporation
Stock Symbol
WBK
Class Period
November 11, 2015 to November 19, 2019
Court
District of Oregon

On January 30, 2020, the Westpac Banking Corporation securities class action lawsuit was filed charging Westpac and certain of its officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The Westpac securities class action lawsuit was commenced in the District of Oregon on behalf of purchasers of Westpac securities between November 11, 2015 and November 19, 2019 (the “Class Period”) and is captioned Byrne v. Westpac Banking Corp., No. 20-cv-00171.

The Westpac securities class action lawsuit alleges that: (1) contrary to Australian law, Westpac failed to report over 19.5 million International Funds Transfer Instructions (“IFTIs”) to Australia’s financial crimes regulator, AUSTRAC; (2) Westpac failed to appropriately monitor and assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks associated with movement of money into and out of Australia; (3) Westpac failed to conduct appropriate due diligence on transactions in South East Asia and the Philippines that had known financial indicators relating to child exploitation risks; and (4) Westpac’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing policy was inadequate to identify, mitigate, and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

On November 19, 2019, AUSTRAC filed a civil action against Westpac alleging over 23 million breaches of Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2006, including failing to report over 19.5 million IFTIs, failing to perform enhanced due diligence on correspondent banks in high-risk jurisdictions, and potentially providing services used in the exploitation of children in South East Asia and the Philippines.  AUSTRAC also alleged that Westpac had been aware of the heightened child exploitation risks since at least 2013. On this news, the price of Westpac American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) declined more than 7% over the next three trading days to close at $16.67 per ADR on November 22, 2019.  Thereafter, on November 25, 2019, Westpac’s CEO, defendant Brian Charles Hartzer, resigned as a result of the scandal.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading law firms representing investors in securities class action litigation.  With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller has obtained many of the largest securities class action recoveries in history.  For seven consecutive years, ISS Securities Class Action Services has ranked the Firm in its annual SCAS Top 50 Report as one of the top law firms in the world in both amount recovered for shareholders and total number of class action settlements.  Robbins Geller attorneys have helped shape the securities laws and have recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of aggrieved victims.  Beyond securing financial recoveries for defrauded investors, Robbins Geller also specializes in implementing corporate governance reforms, helping to improve the financial markets for investors worldwide.  Robbins Geller attorneys are consistently recognized by courts, professional organizations and the media as leading lawyers in the industry.

Class Period: November 11, 2015 - November 19, 2019
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