Senior Executive Lawyer
Sonja conducts both a litigation and an advising practice in the areas of civil regulation, anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulation, financial regulation, and consumer law for a broad range of Commonwealth departments and agencies. She has a strong background in statutory interpretation and has also worked in our Office of General Counsel.
She has acted for the AUSTRAC CEO in a number of recent landmark cases under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 resulting in significant civil penalties, including $700 million against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Sonja is currently acting for the AUSTRAC CEO in civil penalty proceedings against Westpac Banking Corporation. She has conducted numerous other civil penalty matters, including most recently under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. Sonja has also assisted both the Financial Services Royal Commission and the HIH Royal Commission with the examination of a range of financial market, corporate governance and regulatory issues.
Sonja’s recent experience includes:
- representing the AUSTRAC CEO in current Federal Court proceedings alleging millions of contraventions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 by Westpac Banking Corporation relating to its international payments business
- represented the AUSTRAC CEO in Federal Court proceedings against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 in which the bank was found to have contravened the Act on over 53,000 occasions resulting in a record $700 million penalty
- had carriage of AUSTRAC’s first civil penalty prosecution under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, brought against Tabcorp–in which a $45 million penalty was awarded on this landmark matter
- acted for the Secretary, Department of Health in Federal Court proceedings against Peptide Clinics Australia in which a $10 million civil penalty was awarded under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 for breaches of the rules for advertising of medicines, including the ban on advertising prescription-only medicines to the public
- assisted the Financial Services Royal Commission with investigations, examination of governance issues, witness preparation and conduct of hearings
- a number of other civil prosecutions for Australian Government agencies, including consumer protection matters for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a sham contracting matter for Fair Work Building and Construction and an environmental matter under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- assisted the HIH Royal Commission with the examination of a range of financial market, corporate governance and regulatory issues and was responsible for evidence-gathering and analysis, drafting of compulsory notices, document management, assisting counsel with submissions and assisting with drafting the final report.
Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Commerce, University of New South Wales, 1992