The Commonwealth Bank has spent seven years denying and covering up the role of its staff in a $76 million loan fraud that has left unwitting customers homeless.
Under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, “businesses are expected to undertake human rights due diligence to identify and mitigate contributions to human rights violations of not only their own activities but also activities to which they are directly linked by their business relationships,” Human Rights Watch notes.
“None of the seven Israeli banks contacted responded to questions regarding any steps they have taken to implement” the UN Guiding Principles, according to Human Rights Watch.
But there is no way to limit the harm that comes from doing any business related to Israel’s colonies.
“Settlements inherently contribute to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” Human Rights Watch states. “Companies, including banks, that conduct business in or with settlements cannot mitigate or avoid contributing to these abuses, because the activities they conduct take place on unlawfully seized land, under conditions of discrimination, and through a serious violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power.”
The group urges banks to completely “cease doing business in or with Israeli settlements” because “in Human Rights Watch’s view, these activities inherently contribute to serious abuses.”
This report builds on one Human Rights Watch published last September debunking claims by Israeli banks that Israeli law requires them to provide services that aid the theft and colonization of Palestinian land.
Authorities are searching for a bank that is alleged to have been involved in a spate of robberies spanning several years.
Tabcorp was fined $45 million in March for breaching money laundering laws 108 times over five years. AUSTRAC boasted at the time that the ruling was the largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history. Applying the same standard to the 53,760 breaches Commonwealth Bank is accused of would see it staring down the barrel of a $22 billion penalty.
A massive leak of documents has blown open a window on the vast, murky world of shell companies, providing an extraordinary look at how the wealthy and powerful conceal their money.
Chris Bowen said the government’s changes to the FoFA regulations had scored a ”daily double” by reducing consumer protections from unscrupulous financial planners and increasing red tape.
”They’ve emasculated the requirement to work in the best interests of the client,” he said.
Now, independent Senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan have introduced two amendments to tackle the worst and arguably most potentially dangerous aspects of the Coalition’s reforms – namely general advice and changes to the best-interests duty.
Considering the banks and AMP own or control up to 80 per cent of the financial planning industry, as Nick Xenophon put it,
“The financial services industry is big enough and ugly enough to look after itself and … consumers are the ones government should be providing with certainty and adequate protections.”
But hey…we’re open for business. Caveat emptor.