The Australian Bank Heist Condoned by Reserve Bank Watchdog
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The Australian Bank Heist:
Fraud, Perjury, Conspiracy, Aiding and Abetting, Misprision of Felony
There is clear and ample evidence, prima facie evidence, that corruption is widespread in Australia’s leading banks. In several cases it has been condoned and even aided and abetted at the highest level of the Australian government. Those ministers in authority, who were responsible for action against criminal activity, have ignored potent evidence when it has been put before them. They are now, intentionally or unintentionally, part of a huge conspiracy of silence which when it breaks will reveal indifference, cronyism, corruption and moral weakness on a grand scale.
Former senator, Paul McLean has written,
Statutory authorities, banks a parliamentary inquiry, policing and investigatory agencies have ignored and suppressed evidence, colluded together in false arrest and utterings and ignored their statutory obligations on a massive scale. Senior officers in banks, statutory authorities and other prominent figures have perjured themselves, taken bribes, avoided taxes and conspired in fraudulent activities. Vendettas against individuals have given rise to contrived and unnecessary trials and investigations which have cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars. These have often concealed and distorted more than they have revealed.
Indeed, it can and will be argued that many individuals in high office and agencies have, in direct contradiction of their obligations, willfully acted and conspired against the public interest. Many others have done so through indifference, fear, or lack of moral courage.
All of these assertions can be substantiated. Yet no responsible authority has addressed these realities.
The letters from Allen Allen and Hemsley, Australia’s largest law firm advising Australia’s largest commercial bank at the time, state that in view of Westpac’s own attorneys, the bank would be found guilty of breach of fiduciary responsibility, corporate fraud, tax evasion, and breach of statutory obligation to the Reserve Bank of Australia. The lawyers then take the unusual step of proposing a strategy which will minimize just outcomes
Most importantly, the author of the Westpac letters refers to a number of documents which he attached to his letter and in the strongest terms urges the reader to examine them. He wrote, “All those reading this letter should read these documents, they are devastating.”
The Westpac Letters were in the possession of the Martin Committee and have been placed before the then Prime Minister, Treasurer, Attorney General, Minister for Justice, Leader of the Opposition, and then in the hands of the Federal Police, the Victorian Fraud Squad, the New South Wales Fraud Squad and the National Crime Authority. NONE of these have sought to examine the missing “devastating” evidence.
Francis Galbally, perhaps Australia’s leading criminal defence attorney, sent a letter of advice to then Senator Paul McLean “…there is evidence of criminal activity on the part of PPL and its employees which should, therefore, be the subject of an appropriate investigation.”
On 7 March 1991 he wrote:
Our view is that the responsible executives of PPL engaged in or were party to point-taking and deal switching which was for the ultimate pecuniary benefit and advantage of PPL and Westpac.
The material before us is sufficient to make out a prima facie case of obtaining a financial advantage by deception as contained in Section 82 of the Crimes Act, 1958 (VIC) as amended and which has been duplicated in the Crimes Act of New South Wales 1900 as amended.
In doing the acts of point taking and deal switching and concealing the financial results of that to the customers, in our view, amounts to a prima facie case of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. It may also raise a prima facie case relating to related offences dealing with false accounting etc.
There appears to be little doubt on the material contained in the letters from Allen Allen & Hemsley that money earned from point taking and deal switching was used for the financial benefit and financial gain and the financial advantage of PPL and ultimately Westpac Banking Corporation.
Galbally then considered the question, “Did the Westpac letters make accessories of the Westpac Board of Directors and the senior management who acted on that advice?”
We advise, however, that in our view, there is a strong prima facie case that the author of the Allen Allen & Hemsley has committed a transgression of the criminal law relating to aiding and abetting a criminal offence and perhaps being guilty of a conspiracy relating to those activities.
In the first of the letters from Allen Allen & Hemsley, the solicitor formed the view that both of the illegal transactions referred to above, did in fact take place. In the letters, he sets out a strategy for PPL and Westpac whereby the loss to the customers by the prima facie criminal activity of PPL can be decreased. He also urges PPL and Westpac to keep the lid on the fact that these crimes on a prima facie basis had been committed and does not suggest in any way, that there should be restitution in respect of the prima facie criminal activities. He does not advise PPL or Westpac to desist immediately from any further financial dealings which may disadvantage customers or that there should be full disclosure which should be made to the customers despite their numerous complaints to PPL.
In our view, therefore, there is prima facie evidence that the Solicitor concerned aided and abetted or was an accessory after the fact to the commission of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Indeed, it is arguable that there is a prima facie case that the Solicitor and all the Chief Executives of Westpac Banking Corporation who were privy to the Solicitor’s advice were guilty of the conspiracy to do so.
It is a matter that requires a full and complete investigation. As we have indicated in our previous advice, that investigation could, in our view, only be properly accomplished by a full judicial enquiry such as a Royal Commission.
In one court action the Westpac Letters were sought in discovery but the bank claimed that they were missing.
Should vital questions raised by these amazing documents not be addressed, and if the clear indifference or impotence in relations to them do not raise a huge public furore, then indeed Australia is a Nation without a Conscience.
Then there are the two internal confidential reports written by former Westpac executive, Clive Alexander, which drew attention to widespread malpractice but which mysteriously went missing within the system for four years. Senior management at Westpac publicly denied on Four Corners that these documents ever existed. Stuart Fowler of Westpac testified before the Martin Banking Inquiry that the damage to the bank’s clients was minimal and painted the bank as a benevolent institution when the reality was far more stark and contradictory to the strategy laid forth in the Westpac Letters and carried out in the bank’s subsequent behavior.
Treasurer Dawkins sent the Westpac Letters without the “devastating” evidence to the National Securities Commission even though its chairman, Tony Hartnell, was a senior partner of Allen Allen & Hemsley. The irony of this conflict of interest did not seem to register with Dawkins that he might very well be referring government business to a partner in the conspiracy to defraud the bank’s customers.
Addressing this to the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Paul McLean wrote
You will be aware that there is a burning determination in some quarters that, in the national interest, this trauma must run its full course. It seems that sadly, many more people are potentially implicated in what may prove to be the blackest page in our grubby corporate history.
[ … ]
I therefore, on behalf of many others, call on you and your board to accept and conscientiously examine the clear evidence available. Should such evidence so demand, then some Australian banks must, in the public interest, be deprived of their licences and appropriate authorities be directed to determine if and where criminal charges should be laid.
Ten days later a letter from Bernie Fraser, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, without requesting the “hard” evidence responded briefly:
It can be argued that the behaviour of banks generally towards their customers over recent years has left something to be desired. I do not, however, believe the problems to be as ingrained as you infer. Most of the cases of dispute which you discuss have been – or continue to be – the subject of court action and many also have been reviewed by other competent authorities.
In the circumstances, and in the absence of any hard evidence of specific wrongdoings by individual banks, I do not believe that discussions between us would serve any useful purpose.
Mr. Fraser did not seem to take seriously his responsibility to hold the banks to their statutory obligations granted by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
This same challenge was presented to Glenn Stevens, Esq. Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia on 6 October 2006.
If the Australian Parliament, government agencies, courts, and institutions are incapable of right action, what is the purpose of government?
Is Australia a Nation without Conscience?
Bank Fraud: Crucifixion and Resurrection in Australia
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