New Zealand’s Justice Minister Judith Collins has endorsed an anti-corruption bill to deter domestic and international organized crime that would require banks to report international wire transfers of more than $1,000.
The New Zealand Bankers’ Association has expressed its support for the bill, saying it can help maintain New Zealand’s reputation overseas, the International Business Times-Australia (IBT) reported last Thursday.
Collins’ Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill would force banks to report both wire transfers exceeding $1,000 and physical transactions of $10,000 or more to the financial intelligence unit of the police.
Bank Association Chief Executive Kirk Hope said organized crime is “not a major issue” in New Zealand, but he agrees that such crime needs a global response, IBT reported.
Hope said bank customers will not mind the sharing of information, since they are already used to banks collecting customer data, and that the banking sector will help the government see through the passage of the bill.
Along with targeting organized crime, the bill will also make it unlawful to sell or pass on identity information. It will also increase the penalties for corruption and bribery, and strengthen human trafficking laws in New Zealand.
In addition, the anti-corruption bill will amend the Policing Act 2008 to provide authorities with the power to share information with international counterparts.
According to Collins, her bill will give New Zealand authorities “sharper teeth.”
Referring to Transparency International’s annual rankings of corruption in countries around the globe, she said New Zealand is regarded as one of the least corrupt nations in the world, but it can’t allow itself to get too complacent.
Reports said the anti-corruption bill will not be passed before the election, IBT reported.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.