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New Money Laundering Law Comes Into Force

From the 30th of June 2013 the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act) came into effect in New Zealand. The new laws are aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s financial systems against serious crime and in particular, the serious crimes of drug dealing, fraud and tax evasion.

The Hon. Judith Collins

The Hon. Judith Collins

In announcing the new law Justice Minister Judith Collins had this to say.

“The new AML/CFT regime will make it easier to recover money gained illegally and help close the loopholes that criminals can use to launder money,” Ms Collins says.

“It also aligns New Zealand with international laws and best practice and increases our trading partners’ confidence in our financial sector.”

Businesses affected by the new law will include Banks, some financial advisors, casinos and other financial institutions. Those affected are known as ‘reporting entities’ and have known since 2009 that they had to get systems in place for the new law including more stringent proof of customers’ identities, making an appointment of a compliance officer and reporting any transactions which are unusual or suspicious.

New Zealand has lagged behind some other international jurisdictions in putting such law in place and Ms Collins advises that the new law is all part of a united global strategy to target serious crime worldwide.

 “Being in step with the rest of the world is crucial to New Zealand as a trading nation, as more authorities around the world are requiring compliance with AML/CFT standards,” Ms Collins says.

“The new laws don’t just help fight crime and terrorism; they also reflect sound practices that reduce financial risks for businesses while also protecting the savings and interests of their customers and investors.”

The new law will be administered under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice. In addition, a triumvirate of government agencies will supervise and oversee the enforcement of the Act. The three agencies are The Financial Markets Authority (FMA), the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and The Department of Internal Affairs.

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