Furious shareholders have unleashed at Westpac and its embattled leaders in the wake of the child exploitation scandal that has wiped billions from its value.

There were fiery scenes at the banks's annual general meeting today – the first opportunity for investors to vent dismay following 23 million alleged breaches of money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws.

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By midday, the board, led by chairman Lindsay Maxsted and acting chief executive Peter King, were berated as to how such a massive scandal was able to engulf the country's second largest bank.


At one point, Daniel Gocher from the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility took the microphone and told chairman Lindsay Maxsted that Westpac's "Speak Up" program should be renamed "Shut Up".

When Maxsted insisted whistleblowers were "treated with respect" and that there were "good processes in place", Gocher replied: "I don't think anyone in this room believes you."

The steady line of questioning has been met with short responses from Maxsted, with the shareholders jeering each dismissive reply and cheering every pointed question levelled at the board.

"You're just showing your incompetence every time you open your mouth," one investor yelled from the near-packed theatre at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

Nearly two hours into the forum's dedicated discussion on the Austrac investigation, shareholders are still lining up to hurl their disgust and confusion at the basis of the child exploitation scandal.

Westpac's crisis began when financial watchdog Austrac revealed last month it was facing charges after allegedly failing to investigate customers who made transactions possibly linked to child exploitation in the Philippines and South-East Asia.

According to the Australian Financial Review, some of those payments may have gone towards "live-streamed child abuse".

The lender is also accused of breaching money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws, with Westpac publicly accused of 23 million breaches in total.


It has cost the bank dearly, with shares 1.03 per cent lower at A$24.13 earlier today, after slipping 9.1 per cent since the Austrac allegations were aired last month.

That's wiped about A$8.7 billion from the company's market capitalisation.