Reserve Bank takes TSB to court

RBNZ files statement of claim over money laundering breaches

Reserve Bank takes TSB to court

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has filed a statement of claim in the High Court against TSB Bank for breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.

In a statement, RBNZ said that the claim “represents an escalated regulatory response to TSB’s non-compliance with aspects of the AML/CFT Act.”

“It is not alleged that TSB was involved in money laundering or the financing of terrorism,” stressed Geoff Bascand, deputy governor and general manager of financial stability at RBNZ.

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RBNZ said that TSB has been cooperating in respect of the claim and has acknowledged liability.

RBNZ is seeking penalties against TSB for four categories of non-compliance, namely the absence of adequate and effective procedures, policies and controls for monitoring and managing compliance with its AML/CFT programme; the failure to review and maintain its AML/CFT programme; the failure to conduct a risk assessment in respect of its realty operations; and the failure to have regard to certain countries it deals with when reviewing its 2017 risk assessment.

As a registered bank, TSB has been a reporting entity under the AML/CFT Act since it came into force in 2013.

In 2016, TSB received a formal warning from the Reserve Bank for failure to comply with the Act, and in 2019 the RBNZ identified that TSB “continued to show inadequate and ineffective compliance with its AML/CFT obligations.”

“We are disappointed that TSB did not respond sufficiently to our initial formal warning,” said Bascand. “We are now obliged to take this High Court procedure.”