AML/CFT Act 2009 – Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism…

Money laundering (ML) is the process that criminals use to “clean” the money they make through their criminal activity, by turning it into seemingly legitimate funds, and they are then able to protect and enjoy their criminally gained assets. Some people in New Zealand may also be financing terrorism using similar techniques to money launderers to avoid detection by authorities and to protect the identity of those providing and receiving the funds.

People with criminal intentions value anonymity and are always looking for ways to distance themselves from their activities while still enjoying the proceeds of their crime.

The NZ Financial Intelligence Unit estimates that around $1.35 billion of domestic criminal proceeds is laundered annually in NZ from drug and fraud offending.

Terrorism financing (TF ) is the process by which terrorists and their sympathisers raise and move funds, and are then able to participate in financing further acts of terrorism.

Methods used to monitor for ML activity can, in some cases, be used for TF.

The Real Estate, legal, conveyancing, accounting, and trust and company service provider sectors are known as gatekeepers. They provide services and products that can be used to facilitate the entry of illicit funds into the legitimate financial system, and can provide an impression of respectability and normality.

Both domestic and international evidence suggests that using gatekeepers, such as Real Estate Agents, is a way for criminals to create a false perception of legitimately acquired wealth.

Recent changes to the AML/CFT act 2009 stipulate that, as of 1 January 2019, Real Estate Agents are now included in the AML/CFT system.

To comply with these requirements, all Real Estate Agents will now be required to conduct Due Diligence on their clients, their property vendors, and therefore will be asking for more information about them.

This will include, but may not be limited to, verified identification such as current passports, Drivers license, Firearms license etc., and we may also require a utility account showing a residential address, contact phone numbers, email address, etc. This applies to individuals who own property in their own names, companies, including all shareholders and directors, Trusts, the owners and beneficiaries, etc.

In some instances, eg, with companies and Trusts, it may take some considerable time to get all the necessary identification together for all parties. As Agents we are not permitted to market, advertise or offer in any way any property until we have all documentation in order.

For our customers, the purchasers of property, it is your solicitor who will conduct Due Diligence on you. We are now required to have our purchasers fill in and sign a ” Purchaser acknowledgement Form ” which is an acknowledgement that you understand that this must occur before a solicitor can act for you.

If you want any further information you can give me a call on 021 736 430, or email  art@nzre.co.nz.

Art Rolfe AREINZ

Director

Netzone Real Estate Ltd.         www.nzre.co.nz

Hamilton, New Zealand.