RBNZ still mulls ‘material’ anti-money laundering breach by ANZ NZ

The Reserve Bank (RBNZ) appears to have yet to decide what, if any, action should be taken against ANZ New Zealand for what it considers a “material breach” of the Anti-Money Laundering Act. money and the financing of terrorism (AML/ CFT Act) by the largest bank in the country.

As interest.co.nz reported in May, ANZ NZ reported three prescribed transaction reporting issues to the RBNZ, its AML/CFT supervisor. The questions relate to transaction reports that were not filed on time.

“The Bank itself identified three Prescribed Transaction Report (PTR) issues at RBNZ where transaction reports had not been filed within the prescribed time limits. RBNZ informed the Bank that it was reviewing the one of these issues, related to 6,409 transaction declarations of a certain type of SWIFT message, as a material breach, and the other two as minor breaches, of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009 and terrorist financing relating to the PTR,” ANZ NZ says in its latest general disclosure statement.

“The RBNZ Enforcement Team is reviewing this matter. The potential outcome of these cases remains unclear at this time.”

Asked by interest.co.nz for further comment, spokespersons for ANZ NZ and RBNZ said they had nothing further to add at this stage.

All companies covered by the AML/CFT law must report international electronic transfers and physical cash transactions exceeding certain amounts, called prescribed operations, to the financial intelligence unit of the police. Limits are $1,000 or more for wire/international money transfers and $10,000 or more for physical cash transactions.

An international wire transfer of $1,000 or more is a prescribed transaction when at least one of the institutions involved in the transaction, i.e. the originator, intermediary or beneficiary institution, is in New Zealand, and at least one is outside of New Zealand.

A domestic physical cash transaction of $10,000 or more involving physical currency, i.e. coins and printed money that are legal tender, is also a prescribed transaction.

The RBNZ last year sued a bank for the first time, acting against TSB for “acknowledged breaches” of the AML/CFT law. The RBNZ did not, however, allege that the TSB was involved in money laundering or the financing of terrorism.

Judge Jillian Mellon imposed a fine of $3.50 million on the TSB, the total sanction combining the individual sanctions for four breaches of the AML/CFT law. The AML/CFT law provides for civil penalties of up to $200,000 in the case of an individual and $2 million in the case of a legal entity.

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