The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) announced a new criminal conviction under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.
Jiaxin Finance Limited was fined NZ$2.55 Million for its actions. During a 13 month period starting April 2015, Jiaxin and its brokers were responsible for remitting over $53 million into New Zealand for the wealthy Chinese-Canadian businessman, Xiao Hua Gong.
According to the DIA, this is the first time that criminal action has been taken under the Act by any of the AML/CFT supervisors.
Mike Stone, Director AML Group, says “Money-laundering is a global issue, and unfortunately it does happen here. An estimated $1.35 billion from fraud and illegal drugs is laundered through legitimate New Zealand businesses every year. The true cost and social impact is much higher."
This is a small positive outcome to a challenging issue around the world and within New Zealand. Illicit gains of money and consequential actions to turn it into legitimate assets and wealth, reduces the quality of life globally. Money laundering supports ongoing corruption by operating in grey areas of the law, using channels where there are or limited transparency.
It is essential to New Zealand’s reputation and wellbeing, that serious effort is made to prevent money laundering activities within our financial, corporate and trust systems. TINZ is encouraged by the increased spotlight on AML/CFT compliance in New Zealand and internationally. It is reassuring to see that the DIA has strengthened its AML supervisory team, thereby demonstrating a commitment to being effective.
Also reassuring are the professional services, law, accounting, real estate and other firms that are recognising the threat to New Zealanders and working with robust systems to reduce money laundering.
As the world continues to become more connected and moving money increasingly sophisticated, the government's experience of the required resources and tools will become better at protecting New Zealanders by thwarting the movement of corrupt funds.