The Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill has been split into 15 amendment Acts and passed. They will bring New Zealand into line with international conventions.
Most of the Acts are already in effect. The exceptions are the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Act, which does not come into force until July 2017, and minor changes relating to criminal law.
Chapman Tripp's commentary on the Bill as introduced is available here. We outline below, the key changes since introduction.
Foreign bribery offences
- Bribing a foreign official can now attract a fine of $5 million or three times the value of any commercial gain incurred, whichever is the greater. For individuals it may also result in a prison sentence, not exceeding seven years.
Changes to the anti-money laundering provisions in the Bill
- The dual criminality requirement for money laundering offences committed outside New Zealand has been removed where New Zealand has jurisdiction over the primary offence that gives rise to the money laundering.
- Allows regulations to exempt entities from reporting requirements for international wire transfers.
- Imposes civil liability on a failure to report an international wire of an amount greater than $1,000 or a domestic physical cash transfer greater than $10,000.
Chapman Tripp comments
The changes to our bribery and corruption framework are significant for business. In particular, companies:
- must keep a record of facilitation payments together with other corporate records, and
- are now clearly liable for offences committed by officers and employees unless they can show they took "reasonable steps" to prevent the activity.
Chapman Tripp has asked the Serious Fraud Office and the Ministry of Justice what constitutes "reasonable steps" but thus far they have declined to provide any guidance. Accordingly, we await a Court decision on this issue.
The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.