NSW Police, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority had been notified, the bank said.
While Federal Court proceedings have been filed against Forum Finance, the companys sole director, Basile Papadimitriou, also known as Bill Papas, is also named as a respondent.
The 49-year old Mr Papas founded Forum in 2011 according to the companys website.
Football man
Mr Papas is the president of Sydney Olympic Football Club, one of the largest and most successful clubs in the NSW National Premier League, which ranks one level below the A-League.
In October he announced the purchase of Greek professional football team Xanthi. Mr Papas is also a self-proclaimed motorsport enthusiast.
In May 2019, Domain reported that Mr Papas and Forum Group co-director Vince Tesoriero paid a record $5.8 million for a waterfront property on the NSW Central Coast. Mr Tesoriero ceased to be a director of Forum Group last year. He was added as a third respondent in the Westpac proceedings on Friday.
Mr Papas could not be reached for comment via email or LinkedIn at the time of publication.
Xanthi FC owner Bill Papas watches on as Tony Popovic puts pen to paper with the Greek club. Supplied
Requests for comments were sent to Forum Group through the company email and that of its legal representatives and a phone call was unanswered.
Societe Generale confirmed it provided financing to Forum Finance and has a current exposure of about $9 million. We have commenced legal proceedings in relation to a potential fraud. We are not able to comment further, the spokeswoman said.
Forums website lists several large clients including Findex, HWL Ebsworth, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Seven Group-owned WesTrac and Smart Group. The company is a wholesale provider of office equipment such as computers and software.
A spokesman for WesTrac confirmed that in late May it was informed that funds had been accessed from a loan facility in its name with Westpac.
WesTrac has no record of having accessed the funds and has advised the bank accordingly, the spokesman told AFR Weekend.
The spokesman said WesTrac has not suffered any financial loss as a result of the matter, and cannot provide further comment as it is before the courts.
According to the ASIC filing, the auditor of Forum Group is Rothsay Audit and Assurance.
A spokesman for the audit firm said it was alerted to potential fraud by an external third party and notified the corporate regulator. Rothsay is not implicated in any way in the alleged fraud.
The alleged fraud does not appear to have taken place in any of the trading companies that we audit, the spokesperson said.
Westpac chief executive Peter King said the fraud was a complex issue and the bank was working with regulatory authorities to address it. The bank is also undertaking an external review to determine how the fraud happened.
At this preliminary stage, the potential fraud is sophisticated and appears to have been perpetrated externally, Mr King said in a statement.
Litany of issues
Sources said Forum Group supplied office equipment to businesses and in turn arranged lease financing from banks such as Westpac. Westpac paid the funds to an entity and then subsequently received regular lease payments.
The alleged fraud was discovered when a customer sought equipment financing from Westpac, which was under the impression it had already provided financing via Forum Group. That led to an investigation that uncovered the alleged fraud.
The alleged fraud is the latest setback for Westpac that earlier on Friday had agreed to pay $87 million in compensation to clients of financial advisers that held listed shares on its BT Wrap platform but had not been notified of corporate actions over a 15-year period.
In September, Westpac paid the biggest fine in Australian corporate history when it agreed to a $1.3 billion settlement with financial intelligence authority AUSTRAC.
The bombshell claim led to the departure of chief executive Brian Hartzer. It forced Westpac to admit to 23 million breaches of the law for failing to report international transactions and the insufficient monitoring of customers making suspicious transactions fitting the pattern of paying for child exploitation.
In May, Westpac was again stung as the corporate regulator alleged the banks interest traders engaged in insider trading relating to the $16 billion privatisation of Ausgrid.

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