Financial crime in New Zealand
The Financial Crime Group (FCG) was established in 2009 to provide for civil recovery of proceeds of crime and financial intelligence across all of Government, and internationally.
The group's functions centre on key pieces of legislation as well as international agreements, specifically:
- Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Act 2009
- United Nations Financial Action Task Force (FATF) agreed recommendations.
Financial Intelligence Unit
The FIU collects information on suspicious financial transaction reports that come from banks and other financial institutions. The unit also monitors large amounts of cash crossing our borders, and supports investigations into money laundering.
The Financial Intelligence Unit has prepared Best Practice Guidelines for Financial Institutions to assist New Zealand financial institutions in meeting their obligations under the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 (FTR Act 1996). The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act 2009) comes into effect on June 30, 2013, and will supersede many parts of the FTR Act 1996. New best practice guidelines in line with the AML/CFT Act 2009 will be published in 2013.
For more information, check the Financial Intelligence Unit and the details of implementation of goAML.
Scams and frauds
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs Scamwatch! page has up-to-date information on scams running in New Zealand.
Further information on known frauds and scams is available on the Fraud Alert website provided by the London Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad.
If you are suddenly offered an investment deal from Nigeria it is almost certainly a scam. See the above site for more details.
The Commerce Commission deals with matters regarding misleading or deceptive conduct under the New Zealand Fair Trading Act.
The New Zealand Serious Fraud Office provides information on "large" frauds.
The Financial Markets Authority provides a list of known overseas brokers who do not comply with New Zealand law yet have targeted people in New Zealand.
Asset Recovery Units (ARU)
Almost all crime is financially motivated and the objective of the Criminal Proceeds (Recover) Act 2009 is to disrupt, derail and deter crime.
The Commissioner has total and independent discretion about what civil actions will and will not pursue under the Act, with the Crown Solicitors working on behalf of the Commissioner to pursue civil recovery actions.
ARU provides this service on behalf of the Commissioner, not just for Police, but for referrals from other agencies and jurisdictions.
The ability to take civil action means the ARU can target property that has been acquired as a result of unlawful activity, even though it may not be possible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the owner has committed a specific criminal offence. The onus of proof is on the asset holder.