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Phase 2 of AML reform set for 2014 and will involve lawyers

Phase two of AML reform set for 2014 and will involve lawyers

Phase two of New Zealand's anti-money laundering reform - which will capture lawyers - is expected to come in some time in 2014.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act) was passed in 2009 and comes into full effect on 30 June 2013. It aims to bring New Zealand up to international standards in anti-money laundering efforts to prevent it from becoming a safe harbour for such activities.

Lawyers and incorporated law firms will generally be exempt from the AML/CFT Act, but a second phase is intended to be introduced which will capture lawyers, and other businesses and professions such as accountants, conveyancing practitioners and real estate agents.

There has been little definite information about the timing of the second phase.

In its 1 February 2013 issue, the New Zealand Law Society's fortnightly magazine LawTalk reports Ministry of Justice General Manager Criminal Justice Malcolm Luey as saying phase two "will kick in some time next year".

In a feature on Anti-Money Laundering in New Zealand, LawTalk says initial policy work for phase two of the reform is intended to being in 2014, as one of the work streams in the All-of-Government Response to Organised Crime.

Mr Luey says this work will consider extending AML/CFT measures to designated non-financial businesses and professions such as lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and high value dealers.

"Members of the European Union (such as the United Kingdom) have implemented AML/CFT reform for lawyers," he says. "The Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive, in force since 2005, provides a European framework around the international Financial Action Task Force standards."

LawTalk advises that New Zealand's Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 obliges this country’s lawyers to carry out due diligence and report suspicious transactions.

These obligations are intended to continue until phase two of the reform is implemented.

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