AML, Fraud, Financial Conduct

Financial misconduct, and situations involving fraud or financial crime risk, are amongst the most confronting that any business can face. Resolving such cases successfully requires a blend of regulatory expertise, calm and thorough forensic strategy, and industry knowledge.

Gary’s expertise covers a range of financial services regulatory matters (investigations, compliance advice, enforcement and civil disputes) including Financial Markets Authority (securities) claims, credit contract & consumer finance problems, Serious Fraud Office cases, banking and insurance mis-selling, company directors’ duties or misconduct, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and anti-bribery & corruption (ABC).

Gary is widely regarded as New Zealand’s leading anti-money laundering lawyer, having worked in this field since the legislation was being shaped in 2007 and, before that, in England. He has assisted over 200 AML/CFT reporting entities across a wide financial range – from multi-national banks to card issuers, credit lenders, fund managers, forex, fin-tech, small remittance firms, and more recently lawyers or accountants. This work includes dealings with AUSTRAC in Australia, and Pacific Islands regulators. He does not approach AML issues beholden to the views of any sector, so his independent perspective is respected by both financial institutions and by the AML Supervisors (DIA, FMA and Reserve Bank).

The Financial Markets Conduct Act and other laws gave regulators powerful new tools in the post-GFC era, keeping fraud, trading conduct, corporate governance, bribery, sanctions or financial crime compliance at the top of boardroom agendas. Gary represents firms facing enforcement action or needing to defuse regulatory investigations, and does strategic advisory work to help firms avoid trouble and develop relationships or licensing/approval strategies with their regulators.

KEY CASES AND EXPERIENCE includes:

  • Successfully resisting a SFO investigation of a private investigator firm for alleged corrupt access to/use of information.
  • Handling AML-CFT investigations or enforcement actions including the public Qian DuoDuo, Craigs Investment Partners, Tiger Brokers cases, and dozens of non-public investigations.
  • Defending Credit Contract & Consumer Finance Act investigations by Commerce Commission into Non-Bank Deposit Takers or finance company lending practices.
  • Representing remitter or fin-tech payments firms in bank “de-risking” disputes, obtaining Court injunctions for KlickEx or others, and assisting in the E-Tranz case.
  • Licensing applications fro Derivatives Issuer and Financial Advice Provider status under the Financial Markets Conduct Act.
  • Representing a party involved in the FMA investigation into Abano/Archer listed company substantial shareholder disclosure.
  • Assisting overseas clients facing investigation by the FMA, Companies Office or Financial Service Providers Registrar as to jurisdiction/activities in NZ.
  • Advising reporting entities on AML-CFT coverage or interpretation matters, Ministerial exemption applications, working through complex suspicious situations and related obligations (e.g. legal privilege), or developing remediation and risk mitigation strategies to resolve Supervisor investigations without court enforcement.
  • Advising parties facing NZ aspects of major US DOJ or EU investigations arising from the Panama Papers, 1MDB Malaysia, or China’s Operation Foxhunt/Skynet cases.
  • Assisting in a public inquiry dealing with secret commissions and Crimes Act corruption elements.
  • Representing a party dealing with civil fraud allegations made by a bank.
  • Advising new payments providers and fin-tech firms on product/regulatory issues entering New Zealand financial services market regimes.
  • Assisting a forex trading firm on directors duties, corporate governance, and market turmoil issues after collapse of a major international broking intermediary.
  • Working with clients caught up in anti-corruption investigations such as the Council donations investigations, or dealing with tender/procurement probity issues.
  • Advising a party dealing with cyber-crime attacks, including related privacy and data protection notification complexity.
  • Representing a witness/whistleblower in a SFO finance company case, and persons under compulsory interview in other cases.
  • Advising IAG on internal audit issues regarding Financial Advisers Act and Insurance Prudential Supervision Act issues.
  • Representing the Crown Law Office/Financial Intelligence Unit of the Cook Islands government, in proceeds of crime matters.
  • Defending an international bank against allegations of fraud, deceit and conspiracy to favour interests of one customer over another.

In AML, CFT and Sanctions work, Gary can assist with all areas of anti-money laundering law in New Zealand. He works as expert defence counsel, defuses regulatory investigations and explores settlement options, advises on remediation services, independent reviews and associated risk management advice. He has experience in de-risking or bank account closure cases, and the complex repercussions of the Russia Sanctions regime 2022. Gary helps clients develop premium bespoke Risk Assessment or Compliance Programme materials, but to preserve his independence does not offer statutory AML audit services.

Gary is author of the leading textbook AML/CFT Workflows and Guidance for Lawyers (Thomson Reuters/Westlaw, 2018). He was an invited overseas expert witness to the Cullen Commission of Inquiry in Canada in 2021, and has been appointed Chair of the International Bar Association Anti-Money Laundering & Sanctions expert sub-committee, engaging with FATF and other cross-border agencies.

Other significant pro-bono roles as:

  • Advisory director to ACAMS Australasia (local chapter of global financial crime professional body), after a decade as NZ Programme director and co-Chair of the annual ACAMS-FIU financial crime conference;
  • Invited expert to the Ministry of Justice advisory group on the 2021/22 Statutory Review of the AML/CFT Act; previously NZ Law Society delegate to the Ministry’s Phase 2 Advisory Group implementing lawyer, accountant and real estate agent obligations;
  • Member of the Department of Internal Affairs Industry Advisory Group.

In ABC and Fraud, Gary acts as the International Bar Association’s Anti-Corruption division NZ country officer, and contributed as part of an expert panel preparing submissions to the Australian Senate reviews of bribery law and of whistleblower laws. Gary was a NZ Law Society delegate to the OECD’s Phase 3 Review of NZ’s foreign bribery law, and since 2018 has been NZ pro-bono legal partner to TRACE International’s global anti-bribery supply chain initiatives.

Recommended by the Who’s Who Legal guide for international investigations, and fraud/asset recovery, and by Benchmark Litigation for regulatory investigations.

While practicing in England, Gary’s key cases included:

  • AML investigations & civil disputes – Judicial review of Lloyd’s insurance market regulator over ‘false positive’ AML report and wrongful de-registration of Iranian insurer.
  • Market manipulation and financial derivatives fraud – Prosecuting a series of  cases for the London Metals Exchange after the ‘Hamanaka/Sumitomo’ rogue trading scandal in copper markets.
  • FSA investigations into banks, insurers, financial institutions for client money handling, non-disclosure, or other conduct issues.

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For posts on other Financial Conduct Risks click here