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Money laundering is a process where ‘dirty money’ received from criminal activities, such as misuse of drugs, theft and tax evasion, is passed through legitimate businesses and turned into ‘clean money’. Money launderers and financers of terrorism may use similar techniques to avoid detection and protect the identity of those providing and receiving the funds.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act) has placed obligations on financial institutions and casinos to comply with its requirements since 2013 (Phase 1). Additional New Zealand businesses are now preparing to be caught (Phase 2).

On 10 August 2017, The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Act 2017 was passed and brings lawyers, conveyancers, accountants and real estate agents (collectively known as Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professions (DNFBPs)) into the existing AML/CFT Act (Phase 2).

Part of the reason for extending the AML/CFT regime to the Phase 2 sectors is to bring New Zealand into line with international best practice and help maintain public and business confidence in New Zealand’s overall financial best practice. New Zealand, being a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requires certain business activities within the Phase 2 sectors to be brought within the AML/CFT Act.

The Department of Internal Affairs is the AML/CFT supervisor for the Phase 2 entities.

Accountants had to comply with the AML/CFT regime from 1 October 2018.