Cobrapost sting: KPMG to do forensic audit at Axis Bank
Mumbai: Axis Bank Wednesday said it has appointed top accounting firm KPMG to do a forensic audit, following a sting operation done by Cobrapost that alleged executives of the private lender had indulged in money laundering.
"We have hired KPMG (for forensic audit)," Axis Bank Executive Director Somnath Sengupta told reporters on a conference call after announcement of the bank's results.
He was asked about the sting operation done by online portal Cobrapost.Com last month.
ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, Axis' larger competitors in the private sector lending space and who also figure in the sting operation, too have appointed external agencies to look into the matter.
Sengupta declined to give a timeline for concluding the probe, but asserted that prima-facie there had been no wrongdoing on the bank's part.
"Enquiries were initiated by external agencies and the bank's own internal audit team into the matter. There is no evidence of any systemic money laundering in the bank."
The sting was done at 12 Axis branches across the country and the bank has taken actions, including transfers and withdrawal of i-cards of 20 employees, pending inquiry.
ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have suspended employees.
According to Cobrapost, the banks' executives had allegedly shown readiness in accepting unaccounted money into investment products, which point to non-compliance of know your customer (KYC) norms and also indicate a form of money laundering.
A probe by the sector regulator RBI has found some "aberrations" in the working of the three banks and Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru had last week assured action against the erring entities.