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Record annual profits for Australia's Commonwealth Bank

© AFP | Commonwealth Bank is Australia's largest firm by market capitalisation

SYDNEY (AFP) - 

Australia's biggest bank, the Commonwealth, posted record annual profits Wednesday, amid calls for its chief executive to resign after allegations of money laundering and terrorism financing law breaches.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia's profits are closely watched as it is the nation's top lender and the results provide a guidance on the health of the economy as it transitions away from a dependence on mining.

The bank, the country's largest firm by market capitalisation, posted a 7.6 percent jump in annual net profit to a record Aus$9.93 billion (US$7.86 billion) for the year to June 30.

Cash profits, which are its preferred earnings measure, also hit a new high, rising 4.6 percent to Aus$9.88 billion from the previous year, beating market expectations.

Shareholders were rewarded with a final dividend of Aus$4.29 per share, up two percent from the prior period.

"Commonwealth Bank's performance this year has again contributed to the financial wellbeing of our customers, shareholders, our people and the Australian economy," chief executive Ian Narev said in a statement.

"This is the result of our consistent focus on customer satisfaction, innovation and financial strength."

Narev has been under pressure after CBA was last week taken to court by financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC for "serious and systemic non-compliance" of laundering and terrorism financing laws 53,700 times.

The bank on Tuesday said it would slash pay and bonuses of top executives, but backed Narev despite calls for him to step down.

Narev has admitted "mistakes were made" but told The Australian newspaper Monday he was "focused on doing my job and am not spending any time on thinking about my own position".

© 2017 AFP