The multi-national Australia and New Zealand Banking Group has effectively prevented a speaking tour of Australia by a British politician.
It might appear to any reasonable person that it is only the immigration departments of sovereign nation states which decide who is allowed entry but the ANZ Group have assumed such powers themselves.
The former MEP and leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, had been invited to speak down under in 2020 by the Australia First Party. The AFP leader Dr. Jim Saleam had offered to pay the $AUS 140 visa application incurred by Mr. Griffin and arrangements were made to transfer the funds from a ANZ bank account to Griffin’s UK bank account.
However within hours of the transaction a ANZ employee contacted Dr. Saleam to report that the transfer of funds was being declined because it was “contrary to our policy”. The Bank refused to elaborate.
Unfortunately it is not simply a matter of switching banks. The AFP had similar issues with an account held at the rival Westpac Bank in 2019. That is now the subject of an ongoing official complaint.
Of course Mr. Griffin’s speaking tour could still go ahead and the visa application fee can be dealt with at a later date but the principle that a bank should have the power to decline a transaction based on a political decision is highly contentious.
ANZ is one of the big three banks in Australia and is no stranger to controversy. It remains the subject of claims made by the official Australian banking regulator that traders working for the Bank manipulated inter-bank lending rates and additional claims regarding manipulation of exchange rates of the Malaysian ringgit.
On 1 June 2018, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that criminal cartel charges are expected to be laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) against ANZ Bank, its Group Treasurer Rick Moscati, along with Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and a number of individuals