Article: Three Sued Over Blockchain Firm Trading

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Three Sued Over Blockchain Firm Trading

Matthew Heller, 12 July 2021

The controlling shareholder of Long Blockchain has been charged with tipping off his broker about the company’s pivot to blockchain technology before it was publicly announced.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Eric Watson, a New Zealand national, engaged in an insider trading scheme with Oliver Barret-Lindsay, his friend and broker, and stock promoter Gannon Giguiere, that allegedly resulted in Giguiere making a profit of $162,500 on Long Blockchain shares.

According to the SEC, Watson tipped off Lindsay in December 2017 that the company formerly known as Long Island Tea would be switching from making iced tea and lemonade to providing blockchain technology and Lindsay passed the tip on Giguiere. Continue reading “Article: Three Sued Over Blockchain Firm Trading”

Article: Police seize assets worth over $70 million in money laundering investigation

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Police seize assets worth over $70 million in money laundering investigation

RNZ, 16 June 2021

Police have seized over $70 million – mostly cash – linked to an international pyramid scheme in China and Canada.

The High Court has approved a settlement between Police and Xiaohua (known as Edward) Gong that enables the forfeiture of over $70m.

It is New Zealand’s largest ever forfeiture under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. Continue reading “Article: Police seize assets worth over $70 million in money laundering investigation”

Article: Australian financial crime watchdog widens probe on casinos already reeling from COVID

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Australian financial crime watchdog widens probe on casinos already reeling from COVID

Reuters, 07 June 2021

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s anti-money-laundering agency on Monday widened a probe into due diligence at casinos to include the three biggest operators, ratcheting up pressure on a sector already struggling with the pandemic and heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Months into an investigation of top player Crown Resorts, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) said it was formally looking into possible breaches of background check rules at rival Star Entertainment Group and New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group.

That means owners of casinos in Australia’s five most populous cities now face enforcement investigations that could carry fines or restrict their licences. Continue reading “Article: Australian financial crime watchdog widens probe on casinos already reeling from COVID”

Article: Call for royal commission into SkyCity Adelaide amid AUSTRAC investigation

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Call for royal commission into SkyCity Adelaide amid AUSTRAC investigation

abc, 07 June 2021

Two South Australian MPs have called for a royal commission into the operations of the Adelaide casino similar to those underway into Crown in Victoria and Western Australia.

SkyCity revealed this morning it was being investigated by financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC over serious non-compliance relating to money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws in its Adelaide operations. It runs the Adelaide casino as well as three others in New Zealand. Continue reading “Article: Call for royal commission into SkyCity Adelaide amid AUSTRAC investigation”

Article: New Zealand an ‘easy target’ for money launderers

Article - Media, Publications

New Zealand an ‘easy target’ for money launderers

Jenine Colmore-Williams, 27 March 2021

Last week a series of arrests and property seizures across the Auckland region hit the headlines, the culmination of an extensive investigation by the New Zealand Police’s Financial Crime Group into money laundering and related crimes.

Jenine Colmore-Williams is executive director and founder of Dimension GRC, a New Zealand company at the front line of the battle against money laundering. She warns the issue runs far deeper in Aotearoa than many Kiwis realise, and that our celebrated ease of doing business makes us an easy target.

OPINION: Money laundering is the process of making money earned from criminal activities such as fraud, illegal drugs and tax evasion appear to have come from legitimate sources. Most criminal transactions are handled in cash due to its untraceable nature, but as the ill-gotten gains begin to pile up, it can become a liability to those who are accumulating it.

The process of transferring dodgy cash into legitimate finances can involve not just banks but lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, casinos, high-value goods dealers, financial advisers – in fact, every firm in the country through which lumps of money occasionally come and go in the normal course of business. Sounding a bit like an episode of Ozark not our beautiful “clean, green” New Zealand? Continue reading “Article: New Zealand an ‘easy target’ for money launderers”

Article: Collusion with Trump over Russia inquiry ‘did not happen’, says Raab

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Collusion with Trump over Russia inquiry ‘did not happen’, says Raab

Patrick Wintour, 02 October 2019

No member of the British government, including the prime minister, would ever collude with Donald Trump to try to discredit the work of intelligence agencies uncovering Russian interference in the 2016 US election, the UK foreign secretary said.

Dominic Raab told the Commons that “any such collusion is entirely unacceptable, would never happen, and did not happen”.

The foreign secretary refused to say at prime minister’s questions whether Boris Johnson, or his predecessor, Theresa May, had spoken to the US president about any request to cooperate with the inquiry he had ordered into how the US intelligence agencies handled claims that Russia colluded with the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

The collusion claim led to the lengthy report by Robert Mueller, which showed that Russia was attempting to swing the presidential election in favour of Trump but did not say whether there had been collusion between Russia and Trump.

Raab was asked whether, as reported in the Times, Trump had personally contacted Johnson to ask him to cooperate with the US inquiry.

The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw implied that the purpose of any Trump request might be “to undermine or smear British intelligence services, as well as damage cooperation with their US colleagues”.

Raab, deputising for Johnson at prime minister’s questions, said: “Neither the prime minister or, as then, the foreign secretary, would collude in the way that he described. That is entirely unacceptable and would never happen and did not happen.”

It is noticeable that the British government has been less willing than either the Australian or Italian governments to give details of help given to Trump’s inquiry into the role of the US intelligence services.

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BusinessDesk, 26 September 2016

Trading by Goldman Sachs has come under the scrutiny of lawyers representing Milford Asset Management portfolio fund manager Mark Warminger in a High Court trial on market manipulation.

Duncan Rutherford, who headed Goldman’s securities team in New Zealand until it was restructured earlier this year, was giving evidence today as part of the first week of the Auckland trial brought by the market regulator, the Financial Markets Authority.

Warminger is accused of making trades on 10 occasions that breached securities law prohibiting trading that is not for a genuine commercial purpose and creates an artificial appearance in the market.

The first cause of action brought by the FMA relates to trading in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shares on May 27, 2014, where Warminger is said to have bought shares to push up the price of the stock from its opening price of $4.32 to $4.35 through five small buy trades and then later selling 500,000 shares at an allegedly manipulated higher price off-market.

Warminger’s counsel Marc Corlett QC questioned why Goldman Sachs also sold shares in F&P Healthcare in the market’s opening auction that day – 15,000 shares at $4.32 and then 10,000 at $4.33 even though it was “short” in its own facilitation account of 463,000 shares. The firm made a loss on the trades. The stock price had been volatile closing at $4.35 the previous day and in the “4.20s” the day before that.

Rutherford said it wasn’t unusual for the firm to do that given the “bigger picture” of its trading strategy for that day and the commissions it received on trading activity. It also did so in the belief Warminger would be a potential seller that day, he said.

The idea of the facilitation account is not simply to make profits on the shares it trades, he said, but it was part of a suite of services it offered clients and acted like a “bucket” that facilitated trades between clients and increased liquidity on the often volatile New Zealand market.

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