June 24, 2020 / 6:02 AM / 15 days ago

NZ regulator targets unit of CLSA Premium over money-laundering law

June 24 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s financial regulator has launched civil proceedings against the local unit of Hong Kong-based foreign exchange broker CLSA Premium Ltd for “multiple” alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) said CLSA Premium’s local unit failed to conduct sufficient customer due diligence, end business relationships and report suspicious transactions between 2015 and 2018 in accordance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

“The regime has been in place since 2013 and CLSAP’s alleged breaches are serious so it is appropriate for the FMA to take a strong regulatory response,” Nick Kynoch, the FMA’s general counsel, said in a statement.

CLSA Premium, majority-owned by Chinese state-backed broker CITIC Securities, said on Wednesday it is seeking legal advice but added its unit’s licence will not being impacted by the proceedings.

The FMA said the representative transactions between April 2015 and November 2018 totalled nearly NZ$50 million ($32.3 million), adding the maximum penalty was NZ$2 million for each alleged breach.

Shares of CLSA Premium are set to resume trading after being halted earlier ahead of the company’s response. ($1 = 1.5473 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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