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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Article: GOLDMAN SACHS NZ TRADING UNDER SCRUTINY IN MARKET MANIPULATION TRIAL

Article - Media, Publications

GOLDMAN SACHS NZ TRADING UNDER SCRUTINY IN MARKET MANIPULATION TRIAL

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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