WELLINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- White collar professionals and gambling businesses are targeted in a new law tabled in the New Zealand Parliament Monday to crack down on money-laundering and terrorist financing.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill would bolster New Zealand's existing anti-money laundering laws to help protect businesses and make it harder for criminals to profit from and fund illegal activities, said Justice Minister Amy Adams.
The Bill was the second phase of the government's Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT), Adams said in a statement.
The amendment Bill extended the Act to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, and sports and racing betting.
Businesses that dealt in certain high value goods, including motor vehicles, jewellery and art, would also have obligations under the Act when they accepted or made large cash transactions.
The Bill struck the right balance between combating crime, minimizing the cost of compliance and meeting international obligations, said Adams.
"It is estimated that the reforms in this Bill could disrupt up to 1.7 billion NZ dollars (1.18 billion U.S. dollars) in fraud and drug crime over the next 10 years. Estimates also suggest they may prevent up to 5 billion NZ dollars (3.47 billion U.S. dollars) in broader criminal activity and reduce about 800 million NZ dollars (555.68 million U.S. dollars) in social harm related to the illegal drug trade," she said.
"Money laundering allows criminals to fund their lifestyle and it fuels re-investment in criminal ventures. 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."
Businesses would have time to prepare for the changes and the government would provide guidance and information to help them understand, prepare for and comply with the law.