Judgement in civil proceeding against individuals

26 March 2020

In November of last year the Department of Internal Affairs announced it had filed a civil proceeding in the Auckland High Court seeking injunctions against three individuals associated with Auckland based money remitter OTT Trading Company (OTT) and a Christchurch based money remitter, MSI Group Limited (MSI).

The proceeding filed resulted in a judgment (PDF, 194KB, Ministry of Justice website) restraining the three individuals associated with these two companies from acting as a compliance officer of any reporting entity, and two of the individuals, who were directors of OTT and MSI, from acting as senior managers of any reporting entity or engaging in any business activity that would make them a reporting entity under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act). These injunctions vary by individual from three years to until further notice by the Court.  The proceeding relates to allegations that between May 2014 and April 2019, OTT and MSI breached their obligations under the AML/CFT Act. One of the individuals, Ms Woon, was OTT’s compliance officer, Mr Qi was OTT’s sole director and shareholder, and Ms Duan was MSI’s sole director and shareholder.

“Businesses that provide money remittance services are assessed as high risk (PDF, 488KB, NZ Police website) of being used by criminals to disguise and conceal the proceeds of crime. The obligations of the Act require businesses to have robust processes in place to protect them from misuse” says Andrew Holmes, Deputy Director of Operations in the Department’s AML Group, Regulatory Services. “Our compliance assessments highlighted continued concerns with these individuals and when a business or the individuals responsible for that business repeatedly fail to meet compliance obligations, we will take action. New Zealanders need to have confidence in and trust the integrity of the New Zealand financial system”.

The proceeding against the companies OTT and MSI is still before the Auckland High Court.

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