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New money-laundering bill to affect luxury car dealers

A new money-laundering bill introduced to Parliament by justice minister Amy Adams last night will strengthen existing anti-money laundering laws and widen the scope of investigation and prosecution by authorities.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill extends legislative power to lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, sports and racing betting, and business that deal in high-end goods, such as motor vehicles, jewellery and art.

“Extending the law will improve our ability to prevent, detect and prosecute many types of criminal activity and help protect New Zealand’s reputation as a good place to do business,” Adams said.

Businesses who sell high-end motor vehicles above a certain threshold (which is not specified in the bill) will now be classified as high-value dealers and subject to the bill. While the new legislations outlines some obligations, high-value dealers will not be subject to the same scrutiny as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents.

High-value dealers will be required to report large cash transactions and must conduct customer due diligence. Records must be audited according to compliance obligations if requested by an anti-money laundering official.

They will be “required to know who their customers are and on whose behalf they act” and must comply with certain prohibitions if they are unable to do so. High-end dealers will also be able (but not required) to report suspicious activity that comes to their attention.

The government will provide information and guidance for affected businesses and give them time to prepare for the legislation.

The Act will come into force on July 2017, but will not be applicable to high-end dealers until a certain date yet to be set by the Governor-General.

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