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Australia's Westpac names two members of money laundering review panel

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past an illuminated logo for Australia's Westpac Bank in Sydney, Australia, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

(Reuters) - Australia's second-largest lender Westpac Banking Corp WBC.AX on Friday appointed two people to a panel which will assess the bank's accountability in a money laundering scandal.

The lender named Ziggy Switkowski and Kerry Schott as panel members while a third panelist would be announced at a later date, it said in a statement.

Switkowski has held senior management positions in various companies including Suncorp Group Ltd SUN.AX and Telstra Corp Ltd TLS.AX, whereas Schott has served as the managing director of Deutsche Bank AG DBKGn.DE and executive vice president of Bankers Trust Australia.

Westpac was hit with a lawsuit in November from Australian financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC which accused it of 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws and facilitating payments between known child abusers.

The independent panel members will oversee Westpac’s response to AUSTRAC’s allegations, which could cost the bank up to A$1 billion ($689.40 million).

Investors questioned Westpac’s outgoing chairman Lindsay Maxsted at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in Sydney last week on remuneration arrangements for the independent panel and whether they would be paid out of shareholder funds.

Westpac did not address these shareholder queries in its statement on Friday.

The scandal hit bank has also hired IBM Corp's IBM.N financial consulting unit, Promontory, to run an external review of its financial crime prevention processes.

Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing