Lawyers, conveyancers, real estate agents to come under anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism regulations

  • Hon Andrew Little

Lawyers, conveyancers, real estate agents and the Racing Board will come under the latest anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism regulations, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today.

“The first tranche of Regulations to support implementation of the 2017 amendments to the AML/CFT Act 2009, referred to as Phase 2 AML/CFT Reforms, have been approved by Cabinet. It will be gazetted today 21st December 2017.

“The AML/CFT Act has been in force since 2013, applying to banks, casinos, a range of financial service providers and some trust and company service providers covered under Phase 1.

“The Phase 2 reforms make some technical changes to businesses covered in Phase 1 and extend the AML/CFT regime to cover a wider group of businesses at risk of being targeted by criminals to launder money and finance terrorism.

“These businesses include lawyers and conveyancers, new trust and company service providers, accountants, real estate agents, the New Zealand Racing Board and certain businesses that deal in high value goods. 

“People with criminal intentions value anonymity and are looking for ways to distance themselves from their activities while still enjoying the proceeds of their crime.

“Evidence suggests that using gatekeepers like lawyers and conveyancers is a way for criminals to create a false perception of legitimately acquired wealth.

“Implementation is over two years to allow sufficient time and support for businesses who have new responsibilities under the Act. Lawyers and conveyancers are the first cab off the rank and are bound by the Act from 1 July 2018. They have been supported by the publication of specific guidance and a sector risk assessment for Phase 2 businesses.

“The first tranche of Regulations supports implementation of the 2017 reforms such as coverage, under the AML/CFT regime, of lawyers and conveyancers.

“The Regulations also, for example, set out requirements for reporting on ‘suspicious activities’ to Police, which apply to both Phase 1 and Phase 2 businesses.   A second tranche of Phase 2 Regulations will be developed in 2018,” says Andrew Little.