Peter Ryan broke the news that AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, would allege that the Commonwealth Bank had allowed money launderers and other criminal elements to exploit the bank’s deposit machines on 53,700 occasions. A complex story of national significance, packaged for a general broadcast audience, Ryan followed the newsbreak with rolling coverage and analysis, and skilfully interviewed the bank’s CEO, Ian Narev. 

Narev’s 2018 retirement was announced the following week, and now every aspect of the bank’s business is under the microscope. Ryan broke the story, followed it up on every platform, and helped punters understand the profound impact of a complex story. Ryan is the ABC’s senior business correspondent. With more than 30 years of journalism experience, he contributes to a range of ABC News programs including the flagship radio current affairs programs AM, The World Today and PM. Ryan is a former ABC business editor, Washington bureau chief and head of TV news and current affairs in Melbourne. 

Ryan was the founding editor of Lateline Business and was executive producer of the ABC’s Business Breakfast program. Ryan began his career in Sydney as a copyboy and cadet on the Daily Mirror. This is his first Walkley Award. 

Judges’ comments:

The extent of the Commonwealth Bank crisis exposed by the ABC’s Peter Ryan was all but unfathomable: 53,700 separate AUSTRAC breaches of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, as a consequence of allegations that the CBA allowed money launderers and crime groups to exploit the bank’s intelligent deposit machines. The potential fine for each individual offence is a maximum of $18 million. Ryan not only broke the story but provided extensive coverage and comprehensive analysis across all ABC platforms in the months subsequent, including the first broadcast interview with the Commonwealth Bank’s chief executive Ian Narev.