New AML/CFT laws to apply from 1 July 2018

From 1 July 2018 all New Zealand lawyers have to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

The AML/CFT Act seeks to identify and counter illegal movements of funds through lawyers’ trust accounts and requires us to report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities. The New Zealand Police have recently issued a new guidance note on suspicious activity reporting.

This means we will be required to conduct more detailed Know Your Customer due diligence on new and existing clients where we are handling client funds. In those circumstances, we will need to collect details and keep records of the at least following:

  • The exact nature and purpose of the work we undertake for you;
  • Your personal information such as a copy of an official identification document like a passport or drivers licence that we have physically seen, your full name, country of residence, date of birth, physical address, bank account(s) and tax identification numbers (whether issued by the IR here in New Zealand or by tax authorities overseas);
  • Other information about you and your business or trust including any associated persons such as directors, shareholders, trustees, beneficiaries, lenders, and those who ultimately control the business and/or provide the funds that are being used; and
  • The sources of wealth and/or funds proposed to be used for any transaction.

We will need to check and update this as necessary for each transaction.

AML/CFT rules are very strict, so please do not be offended if we cannot act for you or proceed with a transaction until we have received the above information and have verified your identity. The above processes are in addition to any conflict, credit and other checks before agreeing to act for a new client.

Image courtesy of AMISOM Public Information

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