EMBARGOED FOR AFR MONDAY 17TH jULY 2017. ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft on his legacy. Thursday 13th July 2017 AFR photo Louie Douvis .As every possible regulator gangs up on Commonwealth Bank – offering the public almost all the fun you would expect from a Royal Commission – are we really going to see a former employee of the bank head up one of these very same regulators?
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Austrac is suing Commonwealth Bank for what could be billions over money laundering allegations. The n Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is investigating whether bank executives and board members breached their duties by not disclosing the Austrac breaches in 2015, and now the n Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) will run an unprecedented public inquiry into the bank.

It is fair to say that the appointment of Commbank’s great saviour, Catherine Livingstone, has come a little too late. Throwing chief executive Ian Narev under the bus during earnings season clearly has not appeased the gods.

But as we contemplate the imminent departure of ASIC boss Greg Medcraft, it makes you wonder about the reports a few months back saying Malcolm Turnbull’s mate, John O’Sullivan, has been anointed to replace Medcraft.

O’Sullivan’s CV includes important jobs such as a Liberal party donor, former hubby of right-wing columnist Janet Albrechtsen, and current chairman of Credit Suisse Oz.

What’s not to like about the man from the government’s point of view?

And before that, from 2003 to 2008 he was even general counsel at a bank, which bank you ask? Need you ask? Aussie gold

Guess who is the richest employee at the Commonwealth Bank? Yes, we have finally found out how much “Aussie” John Symond will get for the remaining 20 per cent of Aussie Home Loans that he has just sold to the bank on Friday.

Commbank announced on Monday that it has issued 2.087 million shares to Aussie John.

Even after the bank’s rough trot this month the stock is still worth about $160 million – down $10 million since July. Symond also missed a $4.6 million dividend that would have been payable if he held the stock two weeks ago. Not that he needs to be counting every penny.

The Aussie Home Loans business must be doing well, given Symond received just 2.75 million Commbank shares for the 47 per cent stake he handed to the bank in 2012.

The latest transaction means the man who made his name “saving” us from the big banks, is now the employee of the biggest bank. Albeit, a non-executive chairman.

Say, which bank is looking for an outsider as the new CEO? Surely “Aussie” John could save them. Perfect Ten

Many people will be looking forward to Network Ten’s future under the ownership of US TV giant CBS, if the current deal goes through.

But CBD can’t help but lament what could have been if the Lachlan Murdoch/Bruce Gordon alliance had been allowed to take control of the network.

Given Lachlan’s history at Ten, no one in their right minds should let him anywhere near the place. But they were.

And to make up for the lack of X-factor that could only be provided by James Packer, who else could you pick besides a cantankerous soul like Gordon – the man who has torched more money on media in the last five years than anyone can count.

What a team they would have made.

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Apology to John O’Sullivan

An earlier version of the CBD item “Would they really pick a former Commonwealth Bank exec like John O’Sullivan to head ASIC?” (August 29) referred to an exchange of emails between John O’Sullivan and Godwin Grech relating to the OzCar scheme. The item implied that Mr O’Sullivan had acted dishonestly in his dealings with Mr Grech and Treasury officials concerning the fee payable to credit Suisse for the OzCar scheme, and that as a result Mr O’Sullivan was not fit to be appointed chair of ASIC.

Fairfax Media acknowledges that any such inferences are incorrect and apologises to Mr O’Sullivan for any hurt and embarrassment.


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