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NZ Police and major banks team up against financial crime

Friday, December 08, 2017

Update: 1:28PM THE New Zealand Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the five major New Zealand banks today announced a year-long pilot of the New Zealand Financial Crime Prevention Network (NZ-FCPN).

The network consists of the Australian New Zealand Bank (ANZ), Auckland Savings Bank (ASB), Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), Kiwibank and Westpac, as well as the FIU.

It is designed to enhance members' and the wider financial sector's resilience to money laundering, terrorist financing and associated offending.

NZ-FCPN was established with feedback and advice from a range of third parties, including the Commerce Commission, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Financial Markets Authority, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

An independent legal review of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing NZ-FCPN was conducted prior to the launch.

Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman said as technology became more sophisticated, so did criminals and their attempts to conduct financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorism financing.

"New Zealand is not immune to the threat of organised financial crime and it's vital to establish this network so we can harness the individual efforts that are already in place," Mr Chapman said.

"Our aim is to improve our ability to detect, prevent and disrupt financial crime within our current laws.

"When the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 came into effect, all the banks and FIU developed their own expertise, independently.

"What we're announcing today is an evolution of that, where members will work together in a bid to tackle these crimes."

Globally, a trend is emerging where the private sector and law enforcement agencies are collaborating to combat financial crime and terrorism financing.

Detective Superintendent Chapman said establishing the pilot of the network here put New Zealand in a stronger position.

"Having an elevated ability to detect attempts at financial crime will make New Zealand a less desirable place to commit a financial crime."

He said the cost of the social harm caused by financial crime could be devastating, not only for the victims but for the broader economy as well.

Mr Chapman said criminals were becoming more sophisticated in the ways they exploited banking customers and they were increasing the risk they presented to NZ's valued e-commerce and trading reputation.

He said this new way of collaboration would provide a complete picture of criminal activity and lead to better strategic development that would ultimately help keep NZ safe and secure.

"The network will work together on strategic research projects and in educating members of the law enforcement and financial services sector.

"The pilot will be evaluated after one year where the successful meeting of the outcomes will be reviewed as well as the impact the NZ-FCPN has had on serious financial crimes in New Zealand."

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