Thursday, June 13, 2019

ANZ was appointed banker to NSW when ABC implicated ANZ's CEO in rate rigging; ANZ's 1MDB role disregarded

by Ganesh Sahathevan

On or about 13 December 2018,the ABC's Elise Worthington reported that "ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott and other senior managers had been implicated for the first time in the interest rate rigging scandal that rocked Australia's financial system".

On 13 December 2018 the ANZ announced that it had been appointed banking provider for the `NSWGovernment.ANZ said:

Under the agreement, ANZ will deliver services across cash management, payments, merchant acquiring and cross-border banking requirements from 1 April, 2019. These services will be divided between ANZ and Westpac, the incumbent bank.

ANZ has also been named as an innovation partner to the NSW Government, a partnership which will leverage the bank’s market-leading capability and experience in data analytics, agile ways of working, human-centred design, digital and payments.

The contract is for three years with options to extend.

In November 2017 SBS reported that senior ANZ officials were aware of suspicious transactions going into the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's accounts at their Malaysian affiliated bank .

In May 2018 the AFR noted that the return to power of Mahatir Mohamad, ousting his rival Najib,was likely to be of concern to the ANZ's management.The AFR said:

Between 2011 and 2013, $US4 billion disappeared from the sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, and turned up in "investments" ranging from the movie that made Jordan Belfort the poster boy for trading floors everywhere to a $300 million, 90-metre superyacht. With the scandal still causing outrage, and probes having been quashed by the old government, the Pakatan Harapan coalition ran on a policy of enacting a royal commission into the scandal. Any investigation would most likely draw in ANZ, which has a 25 per cent stake in AmBank, which operated the personal bank accounts of deposed prime minister Najib Razak to which it is alleged $1.4 million was siphoned from 1MDB. Najib is now effectively, but not technically, under house arrest.

Unfortunately for ANZ, its involvement in the scandal, while indirect, does go to the top. Between June 2013 and October 2015, ANZ's now-CEO Shayne Elliot was a director of AmBank.

AmBank also employed many ANZ staff on secondment, though as Elliott has previously told an Australian parliamentary committee, while working at AmBank, ANZ employees did not report back to ANZ and were only responsible to the AmBank board.

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