Ping An Finance Fined $5.3 Million for AML Violations

In September 2017, Justice Kit Toogood ruled that Ping An Finance failed to meet the reporting and monitoring requirements regarding $105.4 million worth in transactions that were remitted out of its offices in central Auckland.  Despite Ping An Finance’s claim that it would stop trading after April 1, 2015, evidence was discovered that shows the company continued to operate by moving funds through personal bank accounts.  An investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) also discovered that Ping An Finance had failed to keep records of 1,588 transactions, 122 business relations and 362 customer identities.  Justice Toogood described Ping An Finance’s actions as having “calculated and contemptuous disregard” for anti-money laundering (AML) laws and that the company acted as if their violations were simply a “cultural norm.”

The Director of Ping An Finance, Xiaolan Xiao, challenged the judgement on March 2, stating a miscarriage of justice and miscommunication from the DIA.  According to Xiao, the DIA’s actions were an abuse of power because they misrepresented facts and made racist inferences of the case to the media.  Xiao also claimed that he hadn’t received an email notifying him of the DIA’s request for a judgement on this case.  Justice Toogood denied Xiao’s weak claim and stated that the notice was duly served in January 2017 but Xiao and his company failed to file a proper statement of defense.  He stated “Mr. Xiao has not provided any evidence or reasoned grounds to support a challenge to the findings in the judgment.  He has only said that the department’s methodology and proceeding was cavalier and that he had a substantial defense.”

Xiao lost his challenge to the judgement and has been fined $5.3 million for violating AML laws after the Auckland High Court dismissed his arguments.

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