The Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading. The Bill is an omnibus Bill and forms part of the "all of Government" response programme aimed at preventing calculated, serious crimes for profit.

The Bill amends the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML Act) and those changes will come into force on 1 July 2017.

What does it mean for you?

As a result of the changes, in addition to ensuring that customer due diligence has been conducted in line with AML Act requirements and remains current, reporting entities (such as banks) will need to report all international wire transactions over $1000 and domestic physical cash transactions over $10,000 to the Police Financial Intelligence Unit (PFIU).

As part of ensuring that customer due diligence requirements are met, we are often required to provide confirmation to banks of the identity of our clients including copies of their Government issued photo and documentary identification. This applies even where you are a long term client of the firm. While it can be annoying when you are an existing client of Cavell Leitch, before proceeding with transactions we are obliged to sight and take copies evidencing your identity (e.g. passport or driver's licence and birth certificate, together with proof of address such as a bill).

What else is changing?

There will also be a string of new and amended offences to prevent hiding illegal profits from crime. Charges for money laundering will be able to be brought with less difficulty as it is no longer necessary to show the person intended to conceal the transaction. Requirements about the severity of the crime from which the profits are being laundered have also been removed.

Organised crime amendments

Human trafficking crimes will cover trafficking within New Zealand, whereas previously the crime only occurred where people were brought in and out of New Zealand. The crime of foreign bribery will now apply just as strongly to private bodies as it did to the public sector with them both carrying a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment.

To help carry out these changes the Police will be given the power to share DNA information with international counterparts to assist investigations. Amendments to the Policing Act 2008 will expand the ability to share non-DNA information with international law enforcement agencies as well. There is a list of new offences created to charge people for selling or passing on identity information or working with goods used in identity related crime.

The Bill will bring our own laws in line with many international organisations such as the UN Convention against Corruption and the OECD Convention on Combating the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. As New Zealand is consistently viewed as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, the Bill should assist in maintaining this standard.

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