A banned Auckland finance director, convicted of laundering dirty money for a high-profile multi-national drug deal, has applied to have his bankruptcy notice set aside.

Xiaolan Xiao appeared in the High Court at Auckland today representing himself just weeks after being sentenced to six months' community detention and 200 hours of community work for money laundering.

The former Queen St broker was left bankrupt after a High Court judge fined his company, Ping An Finance, $5.3m for Xiao's "calculated and contemptuous disregard" for anti-money-laundering laws.

The 61-year-old was involved in more than 1500 suspicious transactions totalling $105.4m.


A Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) investigation, which began in 2015, uncovered millions of dollars in off-shore deposits which were never reported to authorities.

Xiao told investigators his records had been destroyed due to a computer virus and physical records removed by a cleaner.

Today, he argued before Associate Judge Peter Andrew to set aside his bankruptcy notice.

The DIA opposed the application, while Judge Andrew reserved his decision.

Ping An Finance, a money exchange company which operated out of a Queen St office, is now also being liquidated.

The Herald earlier revealed Xiao was convicted of laundering $500,000 for what police said was an attempt to conceal a major drug trade in New Zealand.

Others involved in the multi-national drug group cannot be identified by the Herald due to court suppression orders.

In a precedent setting High Court ruling, Xiao was earlier banned from offering financial services, ending a 20-year career.

Ping An was also hit with its $5.3m fine.

Xiaolan Xiao talking to lawyer Adam Holland after pleading guilty to money laundering. Photo / Sam Hurley
Xiaolan Xiao talking to lawyer Adam Holland after pleading guilty to money laundering. Photo / Sam Hurley

Companies Office records show Xiao, a New Zealand citizen born in Beijing, is the director and sole shareholder of Ping An.

Justice Kit Toogood said the penalties, including Xiao's ban, were intended to be "so significant as to deter and denounce non-compliance".

He said the company "failed abysmally" to meet the rigorous reporting and monitoring requirements for 1588 transactions totalling $105.4m.

Of the transactions, 173 were ruled by the judge to be suspicious and required reporting under the Anti Money-Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT).

The judgment was the first of its kind under the AML/CFT laws.

Xiao challenged the $5.3m fine in court but lost earlier this year.

The police's Financial Intelligence Unit estimates $1.35 billion of criminal proceeds is generated for money laundering in New Zealand every year.

However, the actual transactional value is thought to be several times higher.