Bank shut account of ICAC politician’s 9yo son
The nine-year-old son of a former Liberal Party MP had his junior saver bank account closed and a black mark put against his name after his father was accused of corruption by ICAC.
The young boy was sent a $107 cheque and a closure notice by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia last year after his father, former Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell, was accused of pocketing thousands of dollars from developers in exchange for "favour".
Mr Cornwell was also being probed by the DPP for allegedly providing the corruption commission "false or misleading evidence".
The case against Mr Cornwell collapsed late last month with prosecutors saying they had "insufficient evidence" to prosecute but Mr Cornwell says his young son was dragged through the mud by CBA before any allegations were proven.
Speaking for the first time since the case was dropped, Mr Cornwell said he demanded an apology from the bank for involving his son.
"If there is even a scintilla of inappropriate contact between the Commonwealth Bank and ICAC, or their agents, the bank must notify my solicitor immediately," he said.
"Given the Commonwealth Bank's new found commitment to transparency, will they provide the minutes of the meeting where they decided to cancel my 9 year old's bank account to my solicitors?"
He said it was hypocritical of the CBA to cancel his son's bank account given the bank was criticised heavily in the Royal Commission for fraudulently manipulating children's accounts so staff could earn lucrative bonuses.
It also came under fire for charging dead clients' money for financial advice.
A CBA spokesman said children younger than 14 needed a guardian and their account could be closed if the guardian was deemed not fit to hold an account.
"When we terminate our relationship with a customer, all accounts associated with that customer are closed including accounts where they act as guardians for a minor," the spokesman said.
"Children 14 years or over can open savings and transaction accounts independent of a parent or a guardian.
"There are instances where we will need to make a decision to end our relationship with a customer and this is always done after very careful consideration and in line with our account terms and conditions."
Mr Cornwell accepted $10,000 from property developer Jeff McCloy in 2011 and another $10,000 the year prior from developer Hilton Grugeon who said the sum was a "payment" for artwork painted by Mr Cornwell's wife.
Mr Cornwell repaid the sum from Mr McCloy during the inquiry.
The Daily Telegraph has obtained an excerpt of the phone conversation between Mr Cornwell and the senior banking staffer which detail the bank's decision to close the accounts.
"This has nothing to do with your credit history," the staffer allegedly said.
"There were certain admissions made… This is a big thing for us at the moment. It is about representational risk.
"The decision was made by an "ethics committee". It's way above me - my boss's boss's boss's level. They sought our advice and we said we were happy with you. We supported you but the ethics committee want to cease the relationship."