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NRT: Our financial laws mean nothing

Written By: - Date published: 4:25 pm, January 20th, 2015 - 20 comments
Categories: business, crime, law - Tags: , ,

Reposted from I/S at No Right Turn


NRT: Our financial laws mean nothing 

Some NZ foreign exchange broker went bust last week, leaving assorted suckers out of pocket. Ordinarily I wouldn’t care: the market is a scam, and you play at your own risk. But it turns out that we had a very sleepy watchdog:

The Financial Markets Authority knew bust forex broker Global Brokers NZ was in breach of financial regulations, but appears to have taken no action.

Information provided to Fairfax under the Official Information Act lists Global Brokers NZ among 3892 companies that failed to comply with the Financial Reporting Act as of March 2013.

The act required all subsidiaries of foreign companies to file audited financial statements to the Companies Office or face potential criminal sanction by the Companies Registrar.

[…]

Global Brokers NZ has never filed financial statements. Its current owners – Epicus Corporation and XT International Holdings, both registered in the British Virgin Islands – have been shareholders since October 2011.

Under the act, directors failing to file accounts faced infringement fees of $7000 each, as well as fines of up to $100,000 each if prosecuted and convicted.


Or, to put this in English: the Financial Markets Authority knew about almost 4,000 crimes and never bothered to prosecute any of them. Which, regardless of what you think of the market they regulate and the level of protection owed its participants, is a basic case of a government organisation failing to do the job we pay it to do, and in a way which seems designed to enable corporate crime and fraud. Someone really needs to be held accountable for that.

20 comments on “NRT: Our financial laws mean nothing ”

  1. aerobubble 1

    One way to take the gred out of a ponsi scheme is to repatriate the excess profit from those early investors, as was done with madoff. But in NZ our ponsi profits from Ross investments took home their illegally obtained monies.

  2. Truth Will Out 2

    This article is pathetic and infuriating – complete hypocrisy from Labour.

    The report I have attached a link to in this comment was written by a former employee of the MED who was also a former Police officer.

    It is 19 pages long but makes for interesting reading if you want proof of how corrupt the current government is.

    ( http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1109/Investigation_Summary.pdf )

    The woman who wrote this report became so concerned about the government’s actions in relation to the process they were using to sink SCF that she quit her job at the MED and wrote the report, describing the government’s actions as completely unlawful.

    Given that she was part of the enforcement unit at the (then) MED, as well as being extremely qualified to make the assessments she did in this report (see her qualifications listed), I would suggest she (and her report) should be taken very seriously.

    This was given to Labour in 2011, and David Cunliffe “pledged” a judicial inquiry into the matter – http://blog.labour.org.nz/category/south-canterbury-finance/

    Nothing has happened since.

    Why?

    Labour has no moral high ground from which to posture and spew empty rhetoric on these issues when it applies such profound selective morality and political expediency when it suits them.

    When John Key’s immediate next door neighbour, the man who lives directly across the road from him, can make more than $100 million profit from buying and selling just one of the assets from the South Canterbury Finance receivers, something is horribly wrong with this picture, especially when a man who never set foot in a court room is still getting the blame for it, after being found guilty of fraud in the court of public opinion as a result of a media trial, orchestrated entirely by the government.

    Other glaring examples of highly questionable transactions conducted by the receivers were also questioned by Lianne Dalzeil but were never taken any further by Labour – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6031135/Land-sales-far-below-values-queried

    Why?

    I approached Jacinda Ardern at the Waiheke Markets one week before the last election and asked her what Labour was going to do about this issue, and why they have not honoured their pledge for an inquiry.

    She said that she was satisfied the SFO investigation “robust”.

    Robust? ON WHAT PLANET?

    The SFO never even interviewed Allan Hubbard, even once.

    The head of the SFO, Adam Feeley, was caught with his pants down giving copies of Hubbard’s biography away as “booby prizes” at an SFO staff party while Hubbard was still “under investigation” – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10757465

    How the hell could Jacinda Ardern call that “robust”?

    John Key is luckier than a Lotto winner that Hubbard died 4 days before his day in court, in the case HE took against the Crown to challenge it’s actions, which was due to start four days after his death.

    Ironically, also only a matter of weeks before the 2011 election.

    How easy would it have been for Hubbard to argue there was bias against him after a media trial that the Prime Minister himself frequently used to influence public opinion against Hubbard while he was still “under investigation”, let alone Feeley’s ridiculously stupid and unprofessional actions?

    Hubbard was accused of fraud before any investigation was even started.

    How does that work?

    That should have been a great big red flag to anyone with a basic understanding of the principles of the presumption of innocence for a start.

    Since when did the government start announcing the outcomes of so called “criminal investigations” before they were even started?

    Especially given that, four years after first being accused of running a “ponzi scheme”, it was recently announced that Hubbard’s investors will be getting 99.37% of their money back.

    There is something horribly, horribly wrong with the way this entire process was conducted, and it needs thorough investigation, not lip service and dismissal by the opposition parties.

    John Key and Bill English say we are not entitled to an inquiry into the sale of SCF’s assets because of “commercial sensitivity”.

    How the hell can the asset sales be “commercially sensitive” when taxpayer money was used to subsidise any shortfalls?

    It is time Labour stopped dancing around this issue, so that it doesn’t risk the type of headlines above making it look completely hypocritical.

    • Tracey 2.1

      thanks for this. i note that labour is calling for an amnesty on all unpaid tax. i await the amnesty on all thieves not yet caught for burglary by the police…

      alex swney might just vote labour now…

      http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11337744

    • Thanks for that info, I saw your comments yesterday and thought they would be very relevant to this post from NRT.

      Not only is the government lax enforcing this law, it’s also deliberately ignoring the housing crisis by failing to measure the amount of foreign ownership of real estate, farms, and businesses. Who knows how much value is being extracted from NZ workers in the form of excessive mortgage interest? How much are house prices being inflated by wealthy foreign speculators with no interest in residency?

      Nobody knows, because of National’s blind faith in the invisible hand. Perhaps similar figures to laissez-faire Canada?

    • Andrea 2.3

      On the other hand: you could ask the leader of NZ First. He has some previous experience with dodgy officials and players in the finance sector. He has proven tenacity and an eye for well-used loop holes.

      I’m sure he’d enjoy something tasty for the new parliamentary year…

      • Truth Will Out 2.3.1

        Which means the point of voting for Labour is as conspicuously absent as their attention to this issue.

    • Ed 2.4

      I must be missing something. My memory tells me that NZ elected a National-led government in 2008, and that Labour was not elected to government in either 2011 or 2014. Most election promises relate to what a party will do if elected to government – so is it surprising that they were not able to order an enquiry, or give direction (or possibly resources) to the Authority. How does the refusal of National to have an inquiry or to answer queries from Labour become the fault of opposition parties and hypocrisy from Labour?

    • Paul Campbell 2.5

      I beleive that’s exactly the way things usually work: people acuse someone of fraud, THEN the police investigate … I don’t think the police just do random audits just in case

  3. Truth Will Out 3

    Labour has publishing power by raising the issues in the first place otherwise why the hell are they bleeding me of my taxes? Why are they called the “opposition”? Where was their opposition to this? Exonerating them only makes you look as self serving as National. Read the report before you start bleating about how hard done by Labour is. They knew this stuff and they played a highly risk averse hand with the cards they could have dealt. P*sses me off no end, especially when their vacant representatives have the nerve to draw salaries I pay for and then try to tell me this process was “robust”. Robust my arse. What the f*ck was she doing for the whole time it was going on? Having her teeth polished? Getting her hair done? Twittering pictures of her cat? Jesus wept.

    • 1. Labour aren’t actually the Government any more
      2. The deposit guarantee scheme was National’s idea
      3. Public interest has possibly waned due to other crises and disasters
      4. Both parties want to be seen as squeaky clean and SCF is a steaming turd

      • Truth Will Out 3.1.1

        You say SCF was a “stinking turd”.

        Based on what evidence? Because John Key said so? Because of all the rhetoric you have read in the media? Because of the spin produced about it by insolvency practitioners who were paid to report that – by National?

        Key and English are both on record saying they have already recovered more than half the amount it was bailed out for, after clearly selling the assets way below market values to their mates.

        Scales Corporation is a perfect example – $105 million profit made by Key’s next door neighbour.

        How the hell does that make SCF a stinking turd?

        That screams at anyone with half a brain cell that they sold the asset too cheaply.

        And then there is the subdivision referred to in my original comment. How the hell do they justify selling a piece of land which was valued at $7.3 million for $1.8 million?

        And more importantly, how does that make SCF (in your words) “a stinking turd”?

        How much did the Hanover investors recover?

        0%

        Already that makes SCF worthy of investigation because taxpayer money was involved.

        I could understand if you said it makes the receivership process a stinking turd, which warrants investigation, but that’s not what you said.

        What is it with you Labour lovers? How come your morality is so profoundly selective when it suits you? Has it occurred to you that if Labour is the perpetual victim of everything when it suits you then they deserve to perpetually lose?

        I mean,keep ducking and diving over issues like this one to your hearts content, but don’t expect any respect or support from me for it, and sure as hell don’t expect my vote.

        • Because the government had to bail it out for a billion dollars. It was a giant crap on the taxpayer, courtesy of the National Government.

          • Truth Will Out 3.1.1.1.1

            Your answer shows you didn’t even read the report or articles attached. You are simply an apologist for Labour missing in action on issues like this. You just keep stumbling on, confusing the facts with your opinions. You are living proof of the reasons why Labour deserves to keep losing, because the best you can come up with excuses as to why Labour demonstrates f*ck all opposition to issues that are absolutely screwing the taxpayers and citizens of this country. A champion of mediocrity if ever I saw one. Good luck, just keep confusing it with skill and see how far you get.

            • ropata:rorschach 3.1.1.1.1.1

              So you want Labour to cosy up to failed finance companies? That have already cost taxpayers 1.6 billion dollars to bail out? On the strength of a non-technical report containing anecdotes from aggrieved investors?

              I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.

              Sure, lobby for an inquiry, and good luck to you, but shouldn’t you be lobbying the government responsible at the time?

  4. McFlock 4

    ok, I might be tumbling the terminology here, but if the “all subsidiaries of foreign companies” apples in the post are the same as the foreign affiliate statistics (FATS) apples, then it might be that half of all foreign affiliate companies in NZ are ignoring NZ reporting requirements.

    And the FMA has, at best, been dragging its feet.

  5. philj 5

    If you go 2kmph over 100 kph you are a target for the police. If you’re a high corporate flyer….. When did the police state arrive exactly?

  6. National have fostered a culture of ‘self-regulation’ and lax enforcement that leads to leaky homes, Pike River, CTV, forestry deaths, Rena accidents, weak border controls, and slave fishing vessels operating in NZ waters.

    Now we can add 4000 financial crimes to the list. But since they are probably JK’s mates she’ll be right aye.

  7. Another example of corporate malfeasance:
    IAG fails to settle 42% of Canterbury earthquake claims while reporting record profits (up 59%). How do they get away with this crap?

  8. Naked Capitalism has detailed numerous financial shenanigans in Aotearoa. Examples:
    * Cathy Odgers : pal of WhaleOil and fraudsters
    * WhaleOil and the PMs office fiddling with the SFO and some very dubious Russians
    * GT Group & extremely dodgy cash flows under the nose of the Companies Office

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