Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A good question

Yesterday's Panama Papers revelation: a businesswoman banned from working in Hong Kong's finance industry is now operating in New Zealand:

The latest Panama Papers investigation shows a businesswoman banned from working in the financial industry in Hong Kong for a decade is now a director of a New Zealand company.

That has prompted the question - why should someone banned from working in the finance industry overseas be allowed to operate here?

Hong Kong businesswoman Chiu Mui Ng, also known as Connie, has been banned from working in Hong Kong's finance industry for 10 years - the ban was originally for life, but was reduced to 10 years on appeal.

In 2009 Ms Ng was ruled unfit to work in the finance industry in Hong Kong by that country's Securities and Futures Commission, after it found she had done business through a New Zealand company that wasn't registered.

But she is allowed to be the director of New Zealand company Hantec Oceanian Limited. The company operates in Auckland and specialises in foreign investment.

Its a good question. The Companies Act allows New Zealand courts to forbid people from being involved in the management or operation of companies, and this applies to overseas companies as well as New Zealand ones (so, if the court finds out you've incorporated something in Hong Kong, you'll be punished for contempt). Clearly, Hong Kong law doesn't do that, and we don't automatically apply foreign banning orders in New Zealand. Pretty obviously we should, to stop corporate predators from simply moving to a new market and finding new suckers to abuse.