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New Zealand central bank warns Citi's local unit over breach of international payments rule

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New Zealand central bank warns Citi's local unit over breach of international payments rule
Reuters
Reuters
December 13, 2023

(Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said on Thursday it had issued a formal warning to Citigroup's local unit for failing to provide sender information in international payment transfers to recipient banks.

The failure arises from Citibank NZ's "control deficiencies" to ensure measures were adequately applied to automated payments. Around 64,000 transfers had reportedly failed to pass on the true identity of the sender to the recipients.

The identity requirements are crucial to mitigate the risks of anonymous use of wire transfers for money laundering and terrorism financing, the RBNZ added.

Citibank NZ in an email to Reuters said, "we promptly self-reported the issue to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and worked with them to enhance our controls and processes."

The RBNZ also noted in its statement that the failures were not a "deliberate attempt to evade the obligations" under the anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism act.

The transactions took place between January 2017 and July 2020, and between November 2021 and April 2022, where Citi acted as an intermediary institution in international wire transfers.

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Archishma Iyer; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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