SA senator calls for jail time for bank bosses breaking the law

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has called for jail time for big bank bosses seen to be crossing the line of the law.

The outspoken senator made the comments following the surfacing of allegations against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia of money laundering and failing to comply with counter terrorism financing laws.

The federal government’s financial intelligence unit AUSTRAC has discovered some 53,000 breaches by the bank and is currently pursuing civil investigation.

However, Xenophon says this is not enough.

“There has been an almost contemptuous disregard of the law, and if the consequence of that is to allow drug dealers to launder money and terrorist operations to be funded by this, then that’s very serious,” he told reporters at a doorstop in Canberra on Sunday.

“If you want to have a cultural shift in financial institutions that are doing the wrong thing, there is nothing like a jail term for their chief executive and board of directors to sharpen their thinking.”

“Sometimes a jail term needs to be on the agenda.”

The senator described current plans to hit the CBA with a massive fine as akin to being “slapped in the face with a piece of wet lettuce”, and suggested harsher penalties needed to be brought.

“If you’re fair dinkum about changing the culture of an organisation, sometimes the spectre of a jail term might sharpen their thinking.”

CBA is under fire for failing to report millions of dollars of cash transactions. Xenophon believes this should be enough to prompt criminal charges.

“We need to change the law to ensure senior bank executives and the directors of a bank could face criminal penalties and jail if they are shown to be reckless in the way they have dealt with issues of money laundering,” he said.

The South Australian senator has renewed his calls for a Royal Commission into banking.

Want more? Get our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! Follow Kochie’s Business Builders on FacebookTwitter, InstagramLinkedIn and YouTube

OnDeck Australia and Commonwealth Bank awarded for collaboration in small business finance



Related Posts

Cec is the managing editor of KBB. She is a multimedia professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, CULT, Better Pictures, Total Rock, MTV, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Head of Content at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.


  1. Banks are a law unto themselves due to the Rudd/Gillard miss management…All they do is pass fines, costs and the rest on to the customer ! How ignorant of us to think otherwise 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here