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14 March 2017 at 09:41 BST

Stricter anti-money-laundering reforms for NZ lawyers

Lawyers, real estate agents and accountants are set to face tougher anti-money-laundering rules under a bill introduced to Parliament in New Zealand.

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The reforms will require companies to put in place systems which guard against money laundering and to carry out due diligence on customers, including identity verification. Justice Minister Amy Adams said the reforms in the bill could disrupt up to $1.7 billion in fraud and drug crime over the next decade and may prevent up to $5 billion in broader criminal activity and reduce about $800 million in social harm related to the illegal drug trade.

Latest move

This latest bill follows on from a first tranche of reforms passed in 2013 covering banks, financial services and casinos.This new bill will extend anti-money-laundering obligations to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, the sports and betting industry, and businesses that deal in high value goods such as cars, jewelry or art.

Fast-tracked

The reforms were fast-tracked following the release of the Panama Papers last year, which raised concerns about the use of New Zealand's foreign trusts to hide money. Cost of implementation of the new bill is estimated to be in the region of $800 million.

 
   
 
 
 

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