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BFCSA: NAB - CEO of Humans allegedly rips of NAB and the Police descend. NAB rips off customers and Zero happens?

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NAB: Raided firm’s CEO had top contacts at bank for years

The Australian 12:00am April 12, 2018

Michael Roddan, Andrew White


Helen Rosamond, the chief executive of the Human Group — the company police raided on Tuesday in connection with an alleged multi-million-dollar fraud against National Australia Bank — penetrated the highest executive ranks at the ­lender for close to a decade, ­according to former executives who worked at the bank.

In an investigation that has already coincided with the resignation of the long-serving chief of staff to NAB boss Andrew Thorburn, The Australian can reveal the Human Group developed close relationships with senior leaders of the country’s third-largest bank despite being largely obscure to the rest of corporate Australia.

Mr Thorburn yesterday said he felt sadness and grief after discovering someone with whom he had “a longstanding personal relationship” was allegedly involved in the multi-million-dollar fraud against the lender.

Mr Thorburn said he would not discuss the identity of those connected to the investigation but said the bank would support police to take whatever action they deem necessary.

NAB on Tuesday confirmed it was targeted by an alleged corporate kickback operation after Strike Force Napthali, established by NSW State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad, raided several buildings connected to a group the bank had told police was obtaining contracts through an alleged relationship that centred on inflated invoices.

Offices of the Human Group, which provided executive services and event management logistics to NAB for about a decade, were raided and a large number of documents and electronic storage devices were seized by police. The Potts Point, Sydney, house of Human Group chief executive Helen Rosamond was also raided.

NAB ended its relationship with the Human Group in January this year after an internal review raised concerns about the relationship between the two companies. The bank had given the findings from its review, sparked by the whistleblower complaint, to investigators. The scheme allegedly involved a person receiving commissions for making the lender pay inflated invoices.

Ms Rosamond helped run NAB’s so-called Enterprise Leader Program, which provides training for the bank’s top 200 executives. According to one former executive, Ms Rosamond was “very active around NAB for many years” and was “almost a permanent feature at senior executive forums and events”.

“Other ex-NAB executives knew Helen well,” the banker told The Australian.

It is understood events organised included getaways for executives in regional NSW, leadership meetings in San Francisco and the hiring of helicopters and other arrangements.

The Human Group did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by The Australian. The Human Group appears to have had few other corporate clients aside from NAB.

Westpac has no record of ever paying the Human Group for any service. Commonwealth Bank, to its knowledge, has had no involvement with the group.

On its website, the Human Group lists Qantas and Unicef Australia as corporate partners. Qantas has never used services provided by the Human Group and an industry source said the logo used on the website was the airline’s logo from the 1980s. Unicef ended its two-year relationship with the Human Group in 2014 and is attempting to have its logo removed from the website.

Rosemary Rogers, the long-serving chief of staff to Mr Thorburn, resigned from the bank in December after a whistleblower complaint was lodged internally about an alleged corporate fraud arrangement.

The Australian is not suggesting the allegations are true, only that they are being investigated. Nor is it suggesting any wrongdoing on the part of Ms Rogers, who now runs her own consulting group in Melbourne, according to her LinkedIn profile.

When asked about the departure of his Ms Rogers, Mr Thorburn yesterday said he would answer questions more fully if allegations were “proven and confirmed”.

Ms Rogers, who did not respond to requests for comment and hung up when contacted, worked at NAB for more than 20 years. She held the role of chief of staff to the chief executive since 2009, serving former boss Cameron Clyne and, from 2014, Mr Thorburn.

“I’m hurt because there are people here who are alleged to have been involved that I know who they are and — particularly in one case — I’ve had a longstanding personal relationship,” Mr Thorburn told reporters in Sydney while attending a leadership summit.

“There was sadness and a difficulty and I would like to give them space. It’s not appropriate for me to answer that now, but I will in the fullness of time if that’s appropriate,” he said. “But I would like to respect the police investigation. We are co-operating with it but we are not involved in it.

“There have been times, in my career in banking, where people have stepped over a line — and that line is the line of what’s legal and what’s the law — and they commit actions for their own gain which, when they’re found, it always ends in a very unfortunate situation for them and their families. That’s the other thing in these cases — there are people involved who I know and have worked with and there is a grief I have for them as well as, deeply, for the bank.”

Mr Thorburn could not confirm the amount of money that had allegedly been siphoned out of the bank. “In the amounts, they are not material for the bank but they are material to our reputation and I want to own that because I’m proud of our company,” he said.

“The company is strong, it’s growing and we have the vast, vast majority of our people who are good people, who have great integrity, and who have at the heart of what they do, trust. And that’s what banking has been over my 30 years,” he said.


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