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Just Wow … Westpac By Peter Ewer
What more can be said. Have you read about it? Here is one headline, that simply demands your attention: “Do as I say not as we do: How fallen Westpac boss Brian Hartzer ran a feel-good campaign to end slavery - as the bank ignored paedophiles sending cash to the Third World to exploit kids for sex.”
“Westpac revelled in a high-powered luncheon about ending slavery, and for years issued feel-good position papers signed by the CEO about its 'zero tolerance' approach to human trafficking. But these lofty social gestures have been slammed as 'vacuous virtue signalling' amid allegations the bank long allowed its services to be used for child trafficking and exploitation - with the backlash forcing CEO Brian Hartzer to fall on his sword on Tuesday. As heads rolled over the growing bank scandal, Daily Mail Australia can reveal the company hosted a lavish business lunch titled 'The Truth About Human Trafficking' in October 2016. Global expert Christine Dolan flew in to the bank's Sydney headquarters to speak to an audience of about 100 guests, including author Tara Moss and Liberal party powerbroker Michael Photios. Executives should have been listening a little closer - with financial watchdog Austrac three years later accusing the company of breaching anti-money laundering laws 23 million times. Among the alleged breaches are claims the company failed to monitor a dozen customers who have made transactions 'consistent with child exploitation typologies'. The watchdog claims that includes a customer who made payments to a person in the Philippines, and was later arrested for child sex trafficking and livestreaming child abuse. In court documents, the watchdog claims more than 3,000 payments went undetected by the bank for years, even though six customers repeatedly travelled to child sex hotspots in the region. Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has told Parliament the company must pay the price for giving a 'free pass to paedophiles'. Meanwhile, leaked quotes from Mr Hartzer at an executive meeting that 'this is not Enron' led the CEO to resign on Tuesday morning. The revelations have left guests at Westpac's 2016 talk reeling - one said: 'I walked out of that talk feeling inspired, now I feel a bit dirty'. Every year since the lavish lunch, the company has produced an annual 'Slavery and Human Trafficking' statement, claiming it has a 'zero tolerance' approach and speaking about its 'commitment' to human rights. Each was signed by Mr Hartzer.”
Such is the wonderful world of globalised banking.