The following is a financial services news alert from law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts on the Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill.
Proposed amendments to organised crime and corruption regime introduced
The Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill (Bill) was introduced to Parliament yesterday (Wednesday). The Bill proposes amendments to various statutes to strengthen the law relating to organised crime and corruption and to align New Zealand with international standards. You can view the Bill here.
We summarise some of the key proposed amendments below.
New reporting for “prescribed transactions” under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009
One of the important amendments the Bill proposes to the AML/CFT Act is a new concept of “prescribed transaction”. A prescribed transaction will be defined as an international wire transfer or a domestic physical cash transaction over a certain value. The current proposal is for the threshold to be $1,000 for international wire transfers and $10,000 for domestic physical cash transactions.
New reporting requirements in relation to these prescribed transactions will apply, including that a reporting entity will need to report any prescribed transactions carried out as soon as practicable but within 10 days.
Lowered threshold for committing money laundering under the Crimes Act 1961
Amendments to the Crimes Act include lowering the threshold for committing the offence of money laundering. Currently a person must deal with the proceeds of a “serious offence” – this threshold will be lowered to dealing with the proceeds of any offence. The Bill would also clarify that there is no need to prove an intent to conceal a transaction in order to convict for money laundering.
Higher penalties under the Secret Commissions Act 1910
The Bill also proposes to increase the maximum penalty on conviction under the Secret Commissions Act 1910 to seven years’ imprisonment. This is a substantial increase from the current maximum penalties of a $2,000 fine in the case of a corporation and imprisonment of two years for an individual. The purpose of this proposed amendment is to align penalties for corruption in the private sector with those in the public sector.
Implementation of international law
In addition to these amendments the Bill is designed to enable ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, (see more on this here), and implementation of an agreement between the New Zealand and United States governments to enhance cooperation in this area.
When does it apply?
The timing of the Bill’s passage through Parliament is uncertain and will be slowed by the upcoming election. However, it is likely to have broad support from both sides of the House so we expect it to be on the agenda in the next parliamentary term.