A top-level financial security task force investigating online company registration says some clients of those creating shell companies “represent a high risk of criminality”. With the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing high, urgent action was needed to protect New Zealand’s reputation, it said….
Yesterday Commerce Minister Simon Power said he would amend the Companies Act to tighten online registration…
Neither Mr Power nor the task force cites operators by name, instead referring to them as “trust and company service providers” (TCSPs), who operate the registered company without disclosing who really owns and benefits from them.
The study says the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing “associated with company and trust formation is high”. It points to media reports of New Zealand companies implicated in attempts to bribe foreign officials or transport munitions.
Mr Power said the main change would be that companies would have to have either one New Zealand-resident director or a local agent. The Registrar of Companies would have expanded powers to deal with issues concerning the bona fides of directors and shareholders of companies. There would also be greater powers to take action where doubt existed about the accuracy of information about a company.