SYDNEY, Feb 12 (Reuters) - A government-backed inquiry into Australia’s finance sector will use its powers to secure confidential settlements brokered by banks, pension funds and insurance providers if they can shed light on wrong-doing, the head of the inquiry said on Monday.
Any attempt by an institution to prevent information being made public, including dispute settlements with customers, would “incite the closest attention”, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne said in opening remarks as the inquiry got under way in Melbourne.
The Royal Commission is Australia’s most powerful government inquiry, with the ability to compel witnesses and recommend criminal charges. It is scheduled to run for 12 months and was ordered in response to allegations of poor practices targeting customers.
Reporting by Jonathan Barrett in SYDNEY; Editing by Stephen Coates