New Zealand Law Society - Police receiving suspicious activity reports from lawyers

Police receiving suspicious activity reports from lawyers

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The Police say at least 10 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) have been submitted by law firms and processed by the Police’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The FIU’s Liaison and Compliance Officer Kristen Beer says the identification of law firms is based on the entity identifying itself as a law firm – “ie, if they have indicated another type of entity (eg, 'other'), their statistics will not be included in this number”.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT) was extended to lawyers and conveyancers on 1 July 2018.

A public information campaign to raise awareness about the problem of money laundering by domestic and foreign criminals was launched this week.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Keep Our Money Clean campaign is using print and digital advertising and will run in four phases as new business sectors come under the AML/CFT.

The FIU has produced a Suspicious Activity Reporting Guideline available on its website. Another page also includes some other helpful information for entities with regards to SARs.

There are also a number of documents that the FIU has produced to assist entities with how to report SARs. These are available from the goAML Resource Library, which is available to registered reporting entities by logging in to goAML and clicking on the question mark icon on the menu bar.

The Department of Internal Affairs is supervisor of lawyers and conveyancers for AML/CFT compliance.

The DIA website also has helpful information for lawyers. Appendix B of their Guideline provides some red flags that lawyers could use to assist with determining suspicious activity.