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Philippine lender conducting probe into fund transfers after Westpac scandal

Bank of the Philippine Islands is conducting a probe into fund transfers made via Westpac Banking Corp.'s LitePay payments channel, which is blamed for the recent money laundering scandal facing the Australian bank, Bloomberg News reported.

BPI spokesman Owen Cammayo said the Philippines-based bank has begun its own probe into money transfers made via LitePay but declined to specify the focus of the inquiry. He said the bank could have "limited visibility" on where the money likely ended up.

BPI immediately ended its remittance partnership with LitePay and informed Philippines' central bank about the matter, Cammayo added.

The report came after Australia's financial intelligence agency in November filed a lawsuit against Westpac, alleging the bank violated anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws on more than 23 million occasions. In its response, the bank said it was shutting down its LitePay international funds' transfer system, among other things. In addition, Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer also stepped down, while its chairman, Lindsay Maxsted, decided to bring forward his retirement to the first half of 2020.