Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Commonwealth Bank’s Brendan French. Is he Australia’s biggest bank fraudster?

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s senior executive Brendan French, who is one of Australia’s biggest fraudsters, recently won a defamation case against a whistleblower. This is quite amazing given that it is French’s role at the Commonwealth Bank to cover-up multi-million-dollar fraud and theft by Commonwealth Bank staff and others and Brendan French should be in jail for his crimes, not winning defamation cases.


The CBA is currently facing multiple fraud scandals involving their senior staff which are currently before the courts and various Australian senate inquiries. There is a standard theme with all of them with 3 key elements:

  1. Massive fraud and theft involving Commonwealth Bank staff.
  2. Customers ripped off and the bank refuses to pay compensation or at best minimal compensation well below what the customer has lost because of fraud by CBA staff.
  3. Senior management at the CBA refuse to report crimes by their staff to the police unless they are forced to. In some cases, they have given staff members who have committed fraud a promotion. The senior management at the CBA who conceal the fraud are in effect committing a crime themselves.

Three recent examples of the CBA fraud and theft being investigated are:

  1. The Bankwest insurance fraud committed by the CBA worth hundreds of millions of dollars which is still under investigation by the Australian senate. I wrote in 2014: “The Commonwealth Bank bought Bankwest from HBOS in October 2008 for $2.1 Billion and as part of the agreement had a “warranty” provision that if any customers defaulted on their loans the Commonwealth Bank could “clawback” that amount from the purchase price.” “For example if 100 customers defaulted on business loans totalling $200 million the bank would be reimbursed the $200 million from HBOS and the original purchase price would have been reduced from $2.1 billion to $1.9 billion. Management at the Commonwealth Bank then decided to make as many customers as possible default on their loans.” (Click here to read more)
  2. Thousands of financial planning customers losing millions of dollars because of fraud by CBA staff. Last year I wrote: “the ABC’s Four Corners program had the story Banking Bad which even named at least one corrupt bank employee, Don Nguyen. Mr Nguyen has never been charged and under the leadership of Ian Narev. The CBA has deliberately concealed the evidence from the police.” (Click here to read more)
  3. The $76 million fraud revealed in the SMH this week involving CBA staff helping fraudsters rip-off CBA customers. The CBA concealed the fraud from police from 2007 until 2011 and forced innocent customers to sell assets that the CBA staff helped defraud. (Click here to read more)

It is some very grubby stuff by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and one of the key people concealing the corrupt and criminal conduct in Brendan French.

Brendan French

Brendan French covers up the CBA crimes on the clear instructions of the CBA’s CEO Ian Narev and Chairman David Turner as well the other directorsThis is obvious given the evidence Ian Narev gave at the Senate Hearing last year in the below video.

The below video is evidence being given regarding the Open Advice Review program. “The program was announced following a senate inquiry into tens of thousands of elderly victims of conflicted financial advice, forgery and fraud at the hands of CBA Financial Advisers. Many lost their entire life savings.” (Click here to read more)

Who did the CBA appoint to head up the Open Advice Review program? Yep, their Number 1 fraudster Brendan French.


At the 2:35 mark of the video Senator Nick Xenophon asks CBA CEO Ian Narev if Brendan French was aware of the fraud committed by former CBA employee Mr Don Nguyen from 2008 and onwards. Mr Narev replies he does not know but says Brendan French was “certainly not complicit” and “we have no evidence that he was complicit in anything”. Senator Xenophon points out he did not ask him that question.

So why did Mr Narev say that Mr French was “certainly not complicit”. For senate hearings it is common for senior managers to be coached before giving evidence. It is even more common for criminals like Mr Narev to be coached and he clearly was. Mr Narev ended up making himself look stupid.

The Brendan French / Michael Fraser defamation case

Michael Fraser runs the website The Arbitrator and has been mentioned on this site before in relation to his battle with the Commonwealth Bank on behalf of unhappy customers. Previously I mentioned the dodgy warning letter sent to Mr Fraser from CBA Executive John Geurts. (Click here to read the letter)

Last year Brendan French (financed by the CBA) instituted defamation proceedings against Michael Fraser.

The SMH reported: A consumer advocate who was spied on by the Commonwealth Bank now faces a legal action that should send shivers down the spines of whistleblowers around the country.

The bank is funding a defamation action filed against the advocate, Michael Fraser, by a senior executive at the bank.

The legal action is understood to have used the discovery process to seek the names of CBA whistleblowers and any relevant communications and correspondence with certain journalists, including myself. It is also believed to want access to all of Fraser’s hard drives. (Click here to read more)

The bank was using the defamation case to go after whistleblowers which had nothing to do with the defamation case. Michael Fraser did not defend the case for cost reasons and also because it would have exposed whistleblowers who had given him inside information of corruption at the bank.

During the court case Brendan French played the victim routine of how he had been outed for being gay in an email that Mr Michael Fraser sent to 500 CBA staff and the stress and duress caused by the harassment by Michael Fraser.

This was interesting because Michael Fraser sent an email to 500 staff outing Brendan French for awarding a CBA contract to his then boyfriend Gregory Tillett amongst other things. The fact that French was gay was not an issue but he was obviously outed as a result. Brendan French works in Sydney which has a large gay population and no one would care less about him being gay. The SMH ran the below cartoon in April 2015 which would have been seen by 10,000’s of people and that to me seems to be outing Brendan French yet he has taken no action against the SMH. Why is that? 

Brendan French and Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser and Brendan French

I doubt that Brendan French cared at all about being outed for being gay as the court case and the media attention means 100,000’s of people now know and it is all over the internet. What he was most likely really worried about is being outed for awarding the CBA contract to his partner which is potentially a sackable offence and maybe even a jailable offence.

Justice Lucy McCallum and the defamation judgment – French v Fraser (No 3) [2015] NSWSC 1807 (4 December 2015) (Click here to read)

In the judgement at paragraph 6 it says “There is not the smallest suggestion of any actual wrong-doing on Dr French’s part. For the bank to back Dr French’s attempts to stem the personal harm to him caused by Mr Fraser was entirely appropriate.”

Well there is a truck load of evidence of Dr Brendan French’s wrongdoing before the Australian senate.

And at paragraph 88 it says “The evidence also establishes beyond doubt that Dr French has suffered an immense amount of emotional pain and hurt as a result of the publications”. What about the hurt and suffering caused to the CBA customers who were ripped off by CBA staff and then the CBA refused to give them compensation?

The below video is Merilyn Swan giving evidence about trying to get the money back that was stolen from her parents by the CBA and the get lost message she received from Brendan French. If Ms Swan and others had of given evidence at the defamation hearing I suspect the result would have been the opposite.


I notice Justice Lucy McCallum makes no mention of the widespread crimes of the bank and its staff which has been all over the media for the last few years. I would have thought that very relevant given the CBA were funding the matter and the case obviously impacted on the CBA’s reputation. Looks like Justice McCallum handed down the best judgment money can buy. It’s the same Justice McCallum who was caught having as a secret hearing to help Kerry Stokes. (Click here to read the transcript)

While Michael Fraser certainly did say and do things that he shouldn’t have they are trivial at best compared to the widespread destruction caused by the corrupt conduct of the CBA senior management which includes Brendan French. But the CBA jumped on the trivial stuff, blew it out of proportion and tried to get the CBA whistleblower names which was their main objective. When they couldn’t get the whistleblowers names they then used the CBA’s financial muscle to win a defamation case for their dodgy employee Brendan French.

The number of people starting to line up against the CBA is getting bigger by the day and a Royal Commission into the CBA and other Banks will have to happen eventually. This story has got a long way to go and I will continue to follow it.

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22 replies »

  1. Great stuff. Keep going. No one should be covering up crooked activities by staff. Frauds of such enormity should automatically be reported to the Police and every assistance given to securing a conviction

  2. This is an article from history 1992. In 1992 our company was winner of the New Exporter of the year award.

    The Commonwealth Bank as a result of this article decided to take retribution on our company and became very difficult to deal with. They were so obstructive in the day to day running of the business that I had to get Jeff Kennett to arrange a meeting with a Mr Alf Long who was the most senior member of the bank in Victoria. At that meeting Mr Long stated. It is good to finally met you Mr Hannigan, you know we could have destroyed you and I used to be a rugby player at half back flank and you know what I would do to you on the rugby field. In 1994 they refused to honour their commitment to the company by withdrawing their loans despite the fact that they were being paid on time. This forced the company to seek finance elsewhere and sent the shudders through its main export customer who began looking for an alternative supplier which it found in New Zealand. This loss of a major export customer due to the actions of the CBA forced the company into administration. The culture of the C BA goes back a long way and is obviously still intact. What is worse is that the government regulators who know what is happening just sit on their bums twiddle their thumbs during their sessions of navel gazing to the detriment of our nation whilst our political geniuses inform us that we are running out of money and need to increase the GST in order to continue to fund their waste, incompetence and corruption.

    I sent you a second letter which illustrates the methods used by our law makers on how not to reform the law so as consumers of legal services are ensured that their consumer rights will continued to be denied when they engage the services of a member of the legal profession.

  3. 50 years ago banks where trustworthy? Not any more, could not trust any of them, especially CBA, Governments have got to fix this? Don’t go down the American path, a a Royal Commission is needed now, and then you would see the same fallout like the RC into unions, fraud on a grand scale.

  4. 2009; Lyn, ConBank Tuncurry; quote from the tape; “the bank will do anything it has to to protect its product”. Guess who she was colluding with at the time? Police.
    People wonder why they do not receive any Justice or Compensation !!! Stop wondering.

  5. I can only conclude that this post, together with others, are proof large that this country is totally corrupted via the legal profession.

    Other Banks cannot possibly be squeaky clean, however, I have never understood how so many people can open an account with, or remain customers of CBA.

    As much as a Royal Commission is needed, I see no chance of this happening for numerous reasons, one of which is the economic damage it would cause to Australia and Australians generally. There again, perhaps this must be accepted to expose, and eradicate, so many interrelated corrupt activities being covered-up within the legal profession. Sadly for the profession, the Mafia would describe their activities as a way of doing business.

  6. My husband and I were clients of NAB for 46 years. Though I had never missed a single mortgage payment, NAB refused to refinance my loans and froze my funds – $865.000.00 – in term deposit. This prevented me from drawing on the TD (temporary) to meet shortfall interest from a vacant property. The reason NAB gave was “by using your own funds you are eroding the bank’s security.” NAB sold my life’s work – blue chip properties – at substantially lower than the NAB ‘s conservative valuations. EG a block of units opposite Edgecliff Centre was sold to a developer at 5% deposit; NAB allowed the developer to sell the properties un-strated on the day following exchange and allowed him to proceed with the Strata under my company’s name and application. 8 units were sold on the first day and with strata complete within 6 weeks, the remaining units were sold- all prior to settlement. His profit was in excess of $2m dollars for this property alone. The recent Senate enquiry into Banks was a whitewash. All names of NAB managers were redacted and all I got was a ‘thank you for your submission.’ This Government is totally corrupt. I’m one of thousands who have been defrauded.

    • interesting (yet infuriating) to read your comment.

      i too heard of a similar story, directly from a mortgage broker who is a friend’s brother…

      a big 4 bank (he didn’t tell me which one) bought out a smaller bank and a nice pub caught their eye. the valuation was around the $2m mark and he had a loan of about $800k. the bank did a revaluation of $1.6m and they did not like it. they organized another one and got a figure of about $800k.

      now, he told me there are 2 ways to default on your loan. 1) to miss payments, and 2) to have the property valued lower to alter the LVR (loan to value ratio). he always made payments, and the business was doing well with over $1m /year. the bank seems to have organized the second method.

      he was given 48 hours only (not 28 days) to come up with the funds to stay within the LVR. he could/did not, so the bank placed his property into administration. he said once it goes there you are basically screwed. now, he managed that pub for $120k/year. after 8 months the administrators “stole” over $600k.

      the pub was sold for $1.2m, well below it’s value, yet there was a buyer at $1.9m just before this dirty business took place. the buyer at $1.2m was the same one who offered $1.9m.

      there’s a term for this – ASSET STRIPPING.

      the broker told me that this method of revaluing properties was used extensively in the USA during 2007/2008 to CREATE the property crisis and steal people’s houses, and is now being used here more often by the banks. IF YOU HAVE LARGE LOANS FROM BANKS, WATCH OUT FOR THIS TACTIC.

  7. If these stories are even half true then it reflects a corrupt and totally contaminated banking system in Australia. At least in America when these type of fraudsters are caught and convicted they go to gaol for a very, very long time. Unfortunately, this won’t happen in Oz. Disgusted.

  8. Is there any way I might get my pension cheque paid direct to me? I am currently with CBA and I don’t like the sound of any other banking group by the comments listed here. Help !!!

    • @rodjac2014 – You might try moving your accounts over to a credit union.

      Perhaps we all should be looking at supporting credit unions.

      Sorry for going a little off ‘big bank’ topic Shane, but surely we have options until a true people’s bank can be re-established. As we speak, there are certain people working on this.

      In Turnbull, we have an ‘ex’ chairman, director & partner of Goldman Sachs (foreign owned, private bank), plus he’s a solicitor – by trade.

      None of our 4 ‘big banks’ are Australian owned & operated any more.

      In a nutshell, you should never trust a banker, a bar associate or a politician.

      It is apparent that none can be trusted and the judiciary is complicit in helping ‘them’.

      • The current financial meltdown we are just now witnessing out in the open will destroy small credit unions (as the intent is to consolidate all financial power in the world’s biggest banks). The criminality alluded to in this article is a global phenomenon, beyond the reach of little things like Gov. regulators.

  9. I heard from a reliable source that , Brendon French is a Liar and a Criminal , So I just assume that Him Working for the Bank, that is the Biggest Criminal Organisation in Australia The CBA , that it would have to be true , put with that, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was related to Some Judge Named French , It’s Not a noted name of Truth is it now ? Great News Folks Everything is Ok .CBA is Squeaky Clean !

  10. When I ran a small start-up business I had to rely on paying for my stock before my clients would pay me. To do so the bank refused overdrafts and or loans, instead requiring me to use a $30K Credit card limit to pay my wholesalers. The wholesalers passed on to me a pro rata of 18% credit card cost for paying my account by credit card, claiming htey were passing on forced charges by their bank . Then the Bank (CBA) also charged me the pro rata of 18% credit card fees for using the card. As such potentially 36%. Isn’t that double dipping by the banks? This fiscal behaviour contributed to my fiscal collapse.

  11. Shane may I remind your readers about the article you wrote about my case last year

    1 westpac admitted in correspondence in 2008 that they had been defrauded by Girardo

    2 8 years later and westpac continues to refuse to make a written complaint about the fraud to Queensland Police

    3 Girardo defrauded westpac of more than $19 million

    4 Girardo defrauded ANZ and NAB of more than $3 million

    5 These big 3 banks made a secret agreement in 2009 that none of them would make a written complaint to Queensland Police for the crimes committed in 2003,2004,2005,2006,2007 and 2008. Nor would they advise APRA and ASIC

    6 Girardo was banned until 2007 by ASIC as a company director. During the ban NAB, ANZ and Westpac lent more than $11 million to Girardo and his companies

    7 After Girardo kidnapped and extorted a business colleague in january 2006, Westpac and ANZ lent more than $15 million to Girardo whilst he was on remand

    8 Girardo received a 4 year jail sentence for the kidnap

    9 Girardo received a 18 month jail sentence for defrauding the CBA bank in 2001

    10 The dusty banker who organised the fraud loans described in 3,4,5,6 and 7 above whilst he worked for NAB and then Westpac is now working for the CBA

    11 Girardo was released from prison last year and has restarted his criminal career robbing banks with his pen and falsified documents

    12 Westpac used the forged Girardo documents against me in the 7 year trial I waged against them even though they have had been sitting on a fraud report since october 2008 confirming the false ATO and rivers licenses and birth certificates

    13 Girardo changed his name by deed poll in 2002 and has operated bank accounts with westpac and NAB in both identities at the same time

    If I had some journalistic skills I could write a best seller about this criminal mastermind and his crooked bank buddies

  12. Excellent story. I think most reasonable people know by now than Brendan french is a crook, thats why he can only get a job at CBA. He has been barred from speaking at any customer relations events so it doesn’t matter how many judgement he pays for, the evidence speaks for itself

  13. What these people have in common is Entitlement, Networking and Position. They hide like snakes behind the laws of defamation and pseudomateship to pull the wool over the eyes of the people in our society who are additionally intentionally distracted by main stream media disinformation.

    They are usually exposed by whistleblowers, not the law. Definitely not the media.
    And they know it!

    Long live the whistleblower !!!!!. You are the true citizens and you are the backbone of justice. Never, ever stop. 😎😎

  14. I have kept a dossier containing each of the subject articles that have been published by Fairfax, furthermore the CBA were recently awarded their favoured decision by the High Court that they are not necessarily accountable to their Codes of Conduct.
    Now try and tell me Australia’s High Court is a bastion of integrity and the carriage of the justice they dispense is impeccable.
    Add to this mess it was Senator Mathias (the Scorpion) Cormann that cancelled the Senate call for a Royal Commission during Abbott’s short stand at the helm of the good ship Australia.
    Let me say that the rags and tatters chairman and directors of this CBA are all complicit to the long term of their dudding’s of their account-holders.
    Were Turnbull at the helm the same outcome would have been delivered.
    Forget Banker’s ethics and integrity, APRA is commanded to renew the Australian Banking Licences annually toward each of the Stoats and Weasels, (I refer here to the Big 4) as a form of common courtesy, better it be that they be cancelled rather than automatically issued.
    I’m afraid Blind Freddy on one of his bad days would be able to accurately finger the big bananas of the CBA as the major perpetrators that ignored the gross improprieties common among their divisions.
    Where else and how else can record multi-billion dollar profit returns continue to amass from within this Bank, despite their operational confinements being within the boundaries of Australia.
    Pure greed lusting avarice coupled with dodgy-dealings are the known credo of David Turner’s Banking Brigantine.

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