Westpac, Offshore Bank Accounts in the Cook Islands (A) and (B)

By Mark Leslie, Robert Joss
2010 | Case No. E400

This case presents two vignettes from the perspective of Laura White, a newly-promoted manager of the Cook Islands operations for a large Australian bank. In Vignette A, White learns of the existence of an Offshore Banking Unit (OBU) – the source of significant revenue to the Islands’ economy - in which the customers’ identities are unknown. The bank has just brought on a new CEO who has emphasized the importance of transparency and knowing your customer. Given the context of the CEO’s philosophy and White’s new role as manager, she must decide whether or not to raise her concerns to her manager regarding the OBU. Vignette B provides further history on White’s previous experience with an ethical scandal in the bank. After having been told by her manager that bringing more attention to the Cook Islands’ OBU banking operations will only cause more problems, she must decide once again if and how to elevate the issue.

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