Oral Roberts University accountant claims he was ordered to “cook the books”

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Oral Roberts University accountant claims he was ordered to “cook the books”
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A former accountant for Oral Roberts University (ORU) has filed a lawsuit against ORU and its Board of Regents claiming he was told by Richard Roberts and his wife Lindsay to “cook the books”, hiding financial wrongdoing from authorities and the public. Trent Huddleston, the accountant, has filed suit against the school and the Robertses claiming he “was improperly and unlawfully directed to perform functions and duties in violation of state and federal law in an effort by the defendants to ‘cook the books’ and hide from the appropriate authorities and the public the continued wrongdoing, improper and illegal conduct of the defendants, and in particular, of Richard and Lindsay Roberts.”

Huddleston said that nearly $123,000 in remodeling fees for their home was paid by Oral Roberts University and Oral Roberts Ministries. In addition the lawsuit alleges $4,000 was spent on a pool table for the Robertses. Previously the Roberts were accused of illegal political and financial wrongdoing, which forced the president to step down from his positison.

Last week at a meeting called by Oral Roberts, founder of the University and former faith healer, a majority of the faculty voted against allowing Richard to serve as president.

An ORU spokesman declined to comment on latest lawsuit and the faculty meeting.

In other news, Tulsa World released emails between Richard and his political adviser and sister-in-law, Stephanie Cantees. The emails given by an anonymous source, show the two plan to gain political influence using ORU students.

Posted on May 21st 2019 in Uncategorized

Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life

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Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life
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This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.

Contents

  • 1 The use of celebrities for voiceovers
  • 2 Iconic characters and choosing projects
  • 3 Discovering his talent
  • 4 “It was a horror chamber where I grew up”
  • 5 West moves to Boston after his parents divorce
  • 6 How West dealt with his father’s abuse
  • 7 Rehabilitation and sobriety
  • 8 Is West glad he experienced addiction?
  • 9 West on his career
  • 10 West on politics
  • 11 Billy West on modern American society
  • 12 Billy West on telling it like it is
  • 13 Source
Posted on May 21st 2019 in Uncategorized

Virginians melee at used Apple iBook sale

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Virginians melee at used Apple iBook sale
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

“Total chaos” is how many described the melee that resulted from a sale of used Apple iBook laptop computers at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR) by the Henrico County, Virginia school system.

Officials estimated nearly 5,000 people thronged the sale for the $50, four-year-old computers. Among them were 17 injured, four requiring hospitalization – one for a leg injury, and three for heat-related illness, said Henrico County Police. Reports of trampling in the stampede were not uncommon, and one driver reportedly tried to drive through the throng of prospective buyers.

Alice Jemerson, an elderly customer said, “They bum rushed the gates and I was knocked over, fighting for my life. All these people were on top of me.”

Shortly after 7am EST officials opened the gates and many residents ran hysterically toward the building where the sale was to occur at 9am.

At a post sale press conference, Henrico County Police spokesman Lieutenant Doug Perry told reporters, “A few bad apples found their way inside. It looked worse than it was.”

Apple iBooks are the preferred computer for Henrico County schools, and Director of General Services of Henrico County Paul Proto, said changes were made to the event after tremendous interest was generated, some as far away as Europe and California. Officials closed and moved the sale from the Henrico county school warehouse to the RIR, after residents complained that their tax dollars were used to buy the computers, and they ought to have first right to repurchase them. The Henrico County Board of Supervisors voted to amend the County Code so that only residents could purchase the laptop computers.

Although officials had prohibited camping out and overnight parking, some in attendance reported that people began arriving at midnight.

Henrico Police Chief H.W. Stanley, Jr. said five patrol officers were originally planned for the event, a customary presence for an event the size authorities had estimated. But by 6 am, an enormous crowd was assembled at the front gate.

Officials present before opening told the crowd that automobiles would be allowed to enter first, which prompted many to run to their cars. But while some were running back to their cars, others rushed the gate. The resulting confusion created much anger, and guards closed the gates shortly thereafter.

Long lines encircling the sale building were commonplace, and one observer noted, “They’re going to see themselves on the news tonight, and see what fools they are.”

Some citizens, however, considered their wait worthwhile. Hairstylist and mother of two Sheress Blunt was one of the first hundred to buy one of the iBooks; she came with her mother and said they sneaked into the raceway through a side gate.

Tonya Vaughan arrived at 5:30 a.m., also bought one of the first iBooks and said three people offered to buy it from her for as much as $200. She declined however, saying, “I told them no way! I had worked too hard for it.”

Lt. Perry said many officers were complimented on the way they handled the crowd, adding that police were seen letting children who had been pushed aside, into the building.

Mr. Proto said, “There are no plans right now to have another iBook sale.”

Henrico County Battalion Police Chief Steve Wood said no arrests were made and the iBooks were sold out by 1pm EST.

Posted on May 19th 2019 in Uncategorized

Bathurst, Australia’s new hospital to be almost doubled in size

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Bathurst, Australia’s new hospital to be almost doubled in size
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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Bathurst Regional Council, the local government responsible for the city of Bathurst and its surrounds in Central Western New South Wales, Australia yesterday revealed it had received a development application for the new Bathurst Base Hospital.

The new hospital is to be built behind the current hospital on the same site and is expected to cost the New South Wales government AUD96 million. The Bathurst Hospital will be the first in the Bathurst-Orange-Bloomfield redevelopment project.

The new hospital will have 149 beds, up from 85 for the current hospital. The hospital will also feature a mental health unit – previously psychiatric patients had to travel to Orange to the Bloomfield Hospital for treatment.

The Bathurst Hospital is expected to have state-of-the art facilities and will share some services with the to be constructed Orange Base Hospital.

The Bathurst Regional Council has approved the demolition of 12 buildings on the hospital site for enabling works. The hospital site is heritage listed although council decided that as the buildings do not contribute to the streetscape they may be demolished.

The demolitions are expected to take place late next month and will take around six weeks to complete. A temporary driveway will then be built to replace the current service entry for food and linen as it will become part of the work site.

Upon completion of the new hospital, the current ward block will be demolished leaving the original building from the late 19th century intact. The original building is expected to become an education centre and consulting rooms.

The original building was opened in 1834. Since then the facility has undergone numerous upgrades and add-ons, with the present ward block being opened in stages from 1978 to 1982.

Other buildings expected to be retained include the Daffodil Cottage (a cancer care centre) and the original Nurse’s quarters known as Poole House.

Posted on May 19th 2019 in Uncategorized

Norfolk youths banned from buying eggs and ketchup

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Norfolk youths banned from buying eggs and ketchup
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Youths in the Norfolk town of Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, England, have been banned from purchasing “squirty bottles” of ketchup, and eggs after a number of complaints from residents in the area. The move, which is backed by the Norfolk Police, is aimed at reducing the number of anti-social incidents occurring in the area. Sergeant Andy Brown, of the Norfolk Police, has said that no further complaints have been received since the ban came into force.

I know it sounds a bit daft, but it has made a difference because we’ve had no more reported incidents since the supermarkets came on board.

While squirting ketchup itself is not a criminal offence, the damage that it can cause, such as removing paint from cars or houses, is often enough to bring charges of criminal damage. Sgt Brown said that there were “about a dozen complaints from residents, some of them elderly, about people squirting ketchup over doors, windows and vehicles.” Martin Bailie, a spokesperson for Lidl supermarkets, has defended his staff’s actions, saying “the stores’ staff were [already] challenging youngsters who were trying to bulk buy these things. It wasn’t that we haven’t been selling eggs and ketchup to youths, but have been careful about who we have sold them to, and we are glad it has been making a difference.”

Posted on May 19th 2019 in Uncategorized

Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds

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Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Controversy has arisen over the reported presence of blue asbestos on the MV Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology. According to the Saint Martin newspaper The Daily Herald and the shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, the Freewinds was sealed in April and local public health officials on the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the ship is docked began an investigation into the presence of asbestos dust on the ship. Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft supervised work on the ship in 1987, and attested to the presence of blue asbestos on the Freewinds in an affidavit posted to the Internet in 2001. Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, gave a statement to Wikinews and commented on the recent events.

According to The Daily Herald, the Freewinds was in the process of being renovated by the Curaçao Drydock Company. The article states that samples taken from paneling in the ship were sent to the Netherlands, where an analysis revealed that they “contained significant levels of blue asbestos”. An employee of the Curaçao Drydock Company told Radar Online in an April 30 article that the Freewinds has been docked and sealed, and confirmed that an article about asbestos ran in the local paper.

Lloyd’s List reported that work on the interior of the Freewinds was suspended on April 27 after health inspectors found traces of blue asbestos on the ship. According to Lloyd’s List, Frank Esser, Curaçao Drydock Company’s interim director, joined Curaçao’s head of the department of labor affairs Christiene van der Biezen along with the head of the local health department Tico Ras and two inspectors in an April 25 inspection of the ship. “We are sending someone so that they can tell us what happened, where it came from, since when it has been there,” said Panama Maritime Authority’s director of merchant marine Alfonso Castillero in a statement to Lloyd’s List.

The Church of Scientology purchased the ship, then known as the Bohème, in 1987, through an organization called Flag Ship Trust. After being renovated and refitted, it was put into service in June 1988. The ship is used by the Church of Scientology for advanced Scientology training in “Operating Thetan” levels, as well as for spiritual retreats for its members. Curaçao has been the ship’s homeport since it was purchased by the Church of Scientology.

According to his 2001 statement, Lawrence Woodcraft had been an architect in London, England since 1975, and joined Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” (Sea Org) in 1986. He wrote that he was asked by the Sea Org to work on the Freewinds in 1987, and during his work on the ship “noticed a powdery blue fibrous substance approximately 1 ½” thick between the paint and the steel wall,” which he believed to be asbestos. He also discovered what he thought was blue asbestos in other parts of the ship, and reported his findings to Church of Scientology executives. Woodcraft discussed his experiences in a 2001 interview published online by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a now-defunct organization which was critical of the Church of Scientology.

The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards.

Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw responded to Radar Online about the asbestos reports, in an email published in an article in Radar on May 1. “The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards,” said Pouw. She stated that two inspections performed in April “confirmed that the air quality is safe,” and asserted that the inspections revealed the Freewinds satisfies standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Pouw told Radar that “The Freewinds will be completing its refit on schedule.” The Church of Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) had been planning a cruise aboard the Freewinds scheduled for May 8, but according to Radar an individual who called the booking number for the cruise received a message that the cruise had been delayed due to ongoing work on the ship. Citing an article in the Netherlands Antilles newspaper Amigoe, Radar reported on May 6 that a team from the United States and supervised by an independent bureau from the Netherlands traveled to Curaçao in order to remove asbestos from the Freewinds.

…if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff.

“I stand by everything I wrote in my 2001 affidavit,” said Lawrence Woodcraft in an exclusive statement given to Wikinews. Woodcraft went on to state: “I would also comment that if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff. Also panelling as well, basically strip the ship back to a steel hull. Also blue asbestos is sprayed onto the outer walls and then covered in paint. It’s in every nook and cranny.”

Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. Now magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has “absolutely no knowledge” of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds.

There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.

In a May 15 statement to the United Kingdom daily newspaper Metro, a representative for the Church of Scientology said that “There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.” The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center notes that agencies have recommended anyone who has spent time on the Freewinds consult with their physician to determine if possible asbestos exposure may have affected their health.

Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

“This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily,” said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in OK! Magazine. Dr. Coggins went on to note that “Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies.”

Posted on May 19th 2019 in Uncategorized

Toyota accused of misleading public over recalls

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Toyota accused of misleading public over recalls
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toyota has been accused by a U.S. House of Representatives committee with misleading the public and investigators over its recent recalls.

The accusations, in a statement from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, claim that Toyota both relied on a flawed study in its assessment of the issue of sticking accelerator pedals at the heart of the recalls, and then made misleading statements about its response. According to the authors of the letter, Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, Toyota dismissed, rather than investigated, the idea that the cars’ computers were at fault. In a statement, James Lentz, the president of Toyota’s American division, claimed that hardware issues were to blame, and that dealers were repairing the faulty part. Toyota also released a study commissioned from the research firm Exponent that said electronic systems were not to blame.

According to the House committee, however, the study involved only six vehicles, none of which had problems with their electrical systems, and was insufficient to produce an accurate result. “Our preliminary assessment is that Toyota resisted the possibility that electronic defects could cause safety concerns, relied on a flawed engineering report and made misleading public statements concerning the adequacy of recent recalls to address the risk of sudden unintended acceleration.”

The company is under a criminal investigation, and has received two subpoenas for documents from two House committees relating to the recalls, although whether they are directly related to the letter is unclear. The documents are related to accelerator issues in several models, as well as brake problems with the Prius hybrid car, and were served earlier in in February by a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Toyota has released upwards of 75,000 pages of documents under the requests.

In a separate, though related, development, it has emerged that Toyota last year negotiated a limited recall for two models, the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES, that were affected by the accelerator recalls, saving the company an estimated $100 million. A confidential internal presentation in July 2009 made the claim, and a month later, a Lexus ES, one of the models under the limited recall crashed in California, killing four people. The claims apparently referenced a September, 2007 recall of floor mats that could trap gas pedals, the same problem that triggered a full recall of numerous Toyota cars to fix the same problem. In the same presentation, the company claimed to have avoided recalls of another model related to rust, as well as delaying new federal safety regulations.

Posted on May 16th 2019 in Uncategorized

Fuel leak prompts 17,000-vehicle recall by Toyota

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Fuel leak prompts 17,000-vehicle recall by Toyota
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toyota announced on Friday that it will recall around 17,000 Lexus vehicles in response to risks of the fuel tank in the cars leaking after a collision.

The Lexus HS 250h model was subjected to the recall following a US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation. Despite previously passing Toyota safety inspections, the conclusions of an NHTSA sub-contracted investigator were that; when the vehicles in question collided with an object at more than fifty-miles-per hour, more than 142 grams of fuel, the maximum allowed by US law, leaked from the crashed car.

According to Toyota, further tests did not show any additional failure of the fuel tank.

In response to the findings, Toyota issued a recall of all affected vehicles, since the company had no solution immediately available. The recall includes 13,000 cars already sold, as well as another 4,000 still at dealerships.

Toyota says it plans to conduct further tests to determine the cause of the leak. A Toyota spokesman, Brian Lyons, said that the company was “still working to determine what the root cause of the condition is.” It’s still unclear when exactly the recall will take place, or when dealerships will be allowed to sell this model again. Lyons said that Toyota is “working feverishly to get this resolved as soon as possible.”

Toyota isn’t aware of any accidents stemming from the leaking fuel tank in the affected vehicles, first introduced in the summer of 2009.

Posted on May 16th 2019 in Uncategorized

Ten April Fool’s pranks of 2009

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Ten April Fool’s pranks of 2009
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Friday, April 3, 2009

April Fools’ Day pranks harmlessly pervaded worldwide again this year. Media outlets and internet sites have joined family, office workers, and friends to provide a wide variety of practical jokes. Ireland, France, and the United States celebrate April Fools all day, whereas a few countries celebrate jokes only until noon such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.

Car and Driver claimed that GM and Chrysler were ordered out of NASCAR by the White House by the end of 2009 in order to receive any more government loans. There are press releases about this short-lived prank which received controversial feedback.

The Swiss Tourism Board has announced that volunteers were desperately needed, The Association of Mountain Cleaners “makes sure that our holiday guests can always enjoy perfect mountains. Using brooms, brushes, water and muscle power, they clean the rocks of any bird droppings.”

This year Gmail produced a new autopilot feature for April 1, 2009 which can read your email and automatically respond to every message.

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BMW released its new Magnetic Tow Technology which allows your BMW to magnetically attach to the vehicle ahead of you. This enhanced technology allows the driver to remove their foot from the gas pedal and turn off the motor.

The Guardian proposed its move to Twitter, which would allow the newspaper to fit its article content into 140 character messages or “tweets”. Included in this venture was the archiving of past events reported by The Guardian, such as, “1927 OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*”

Google’s technological break through for April Fool’s Day was CADIE, (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity). By extracting internet search patterns combined with Brain Search, a part of CADIE technology, Google can now search your thoughts and memories.

Wikipedia even fooled Fox News who claimed that “every item on the home page of the user-generated site Wikipedia is fake. The featured Wikipedia article regaled the “Museum of Bad Art” in Boston.” However, each item on the main page was based on reality — even news articles such as NASA reports a shower of diamonds over the Republic of Sudan, which was based on a meteorite which passed over Sudan whose fragments did reveal diamonds upon discovery.

The Conficker Internet worm had been in the news warning of a worst case scenario when computers worldwide would be affected by the virus. Even the chief security adviser for Microsoft, Ed Gibson, didn’t want to make any predictions about what would happen. Experts just knew that it was set to go off on April 1. Several anomalous happenings were attributed to Conficker including Leroy “Mac” MacElrie who claimed to be the programmer of the Conficker worm and turned himself in to police.

Hotels.com ran an advertisement offering hotel room bookings on the moon which would be offered on European websites starting at £800 a night.

Qualcomm ingeniously revealed a new wireless networking technology called wireless convergence. Making use of the flight patterns of pigeons. They then use innovative solutions to converge the birds with wolves to protect the internal improvements.

Media outlets were not the only ones pulling pranks. Gaming websites across the internet Blizzard, Joystiq, and affiliates posted reviews and announcements of games with tongue in cheek. YouTube offered viewers a unique April Fool’s experience as videos were offered upside down. In Ireland, U2 fans received a U2opia concert on a shopping centre roof top concert rather than the real thing.

Posted on May 15th 2019 in Uncategorized

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

Posted on May 15th 2019 in Uncategorized