Fighting financial crime and the evil that follows it, such as distribution of illegal substances and gang wars, is not
the responsibility of law enforcement alone. Many countries have laws that enforce the requirement for businesses to
identify and report unusual or suspicious client activity. This includes New Zealand where a terrorist act has occurred
in the last 24 hours.
In New Zealand this law is found in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the
AML/CFT Act). Business communities, such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents, are required to make effort so
that they can recognise should a client be linked to money laundering or financing of terrorism, their systems have a
reasonable probability of detecting it.
The law has been phased in across New Zealand’s finance and business sector from 1 July 2013 with the most recent phase
occurring on 1 January 2019.
The beefed-up power of the AML/CFT Act requires businesses to undertake a business risk assessment
and measure their risks on the likelihood of their business unwittingly engaging in money laundering (ML) or financing
of terrorism (FT).
Once they have ascertained their inherent weaknesses, they must put in place policies, procedures and controls for
identifying, managing and reporting client activity that is considered to be unusual or suspicious. The context is in
relation to a crime under the Crimes Act.
For the most recent terrorist event in New Zealand that occurred less than 24 hours ago, it will be necessary for law
enforcement to act quick in order to determine was the terrorist linked to an organisation with known tendencies of
violence, and if so, what size?
Did he have any relationships formed with accountants or lawyers that would assist to understand his cash flows and how
he financed such a large stash of automatic weapons?
If he had a firearms licence, was it not known that he was a white supremist? If he held a firearms licence it gets the
question ‘How thorough are police checks on persons who are firearms licence holders?’ Do they only visit referees
nominated by the licence applicant or do they undertake more extensive enquiries to look at issues that may indicate
tendencies to violent behaviour?
If he was accessing his firearms from illegal sources – how, where, who?
Hopefully the Christchurch terrorist falls under the more common description of being a lone wolf, European descent,
male, aged mid 20s to mid 30s with a chip on their shoulder about life in general. From what we know of the New Zealand
terrorist so far, the description seems to be fairly accurate.
It is noted this act in New Zealand has many similarities to the act carried out in Norway in 2010. Coincidentally, both
wrote lengthy research reports about their beliefs of their disturbed minds.
New Zealand also needs to learn from the Norway event, a country that is often said to have many similarities to New
Zealand. Following the Norway terrorist act, the terrorist continued to use the media as a means to portray his beliefs
– including undertaking the German salute whilst standing in court. So hopefully New Zealand will prevent publication of
the court process and preventing publication of photos. Because a terrorist act is commonly about glorifying themselves,
having international media to film, capture photos and record every piece of the process only adds to what the terrorist
considers a success. Giving him publication would obviously also increase the country’s security risk.
So to the business professionals in New Zealand – when you return to your offices on Monday and if you have not yet
carried out a business risk assessment – get one done for free.
Get a free business risk assessment
so you can start to be part of your business community by protecting your community against acts of criminals such as
distribution of illegal substances, promoting underage prostitution and terrorists to name a few.
When going about your business and dealing with clients, if you know the risk of your clients and you are managing your
risks adequately and effectively, you are on the right path for meeting obligations. If you do not know your client’s
risk and your business is subject to the AML/CFT Act, make it a priority to do so.
If you do not know where to start, ask for assistance from an AML consultant or seek a free demonstration of technology
that does this for you.