New Zealand boosts AML laws to include sports and racing

New Zealand has introduced new anti-money laundering legislation, which has now been extended to cover sports and racing betting, lawyers, conveyancers, accountants and real estate agents.

Businesses that deal in certain high-value goods, including motor vehicles, jewellery and art, will also have obligations under the act when they accept or make large cash transactions.

The rules will mean businesses that accept a cash payment of $15,000 or more will be required to conduct a lot more due diligence on their clients.

The bill was introduced in parliament by Justice Minister Amy Adams.

“This puts in place the second phase of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT), which we fast-tracked work on last year,” she said in a statement.

“Money laundering allows criminals to fund their lifestyle and it fuels re-investment in criminal ventures. Extending the law will improve our ability to prevent, detect and prosecute many types of criminal activity and help protect New Zealand’s reputation as a good place to do business.”

Adams says the bill strikes the right balance between costs of compliance and law enforcement, after earlier versions of the rules were criticized for being too onerous.

“It is estimated that the reforms in this Bill could disrupt up to $1.7 billion in fraud and drug crime over the next 10 years. Estimates also suggest they may prevent up to $5 billion in broader criminal activity and reduce about $800 million in social harm related to the illegal drug trade.

“Over the past several months, we have worked with affected sectors to better understand how the changes will impact their businesses and refined options to help them meet their obligations. This has significantly reduced the predicted compliance costs – the initial estimate of up to $1.6 billion over 10 years has been lowered to between $800 million and $1.1 billion.”