The New Zealand Law Society is urging lawyers to keep file notes for decisions they make on compliance to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Funding of Terrorism Act 2009.
The Law Society is aware of a number of issues and concerns among lawyers, it said. One such concern is related to wire transfers.
“The Law Society is liaising with the Department of Internal Affairs, but so far has not received firm guidance from the department in relation to the interpretation of that issue,” the organisation said.
The Law Society encourages lawyers to be vigilant, part of which is keeping notes of the decision-making process for compliance with the law.
“Lawyers are asked to continue to make reasonable attempts to interpret the legislation, to share their ideas with colleagues, until such time as these matters are clarified,” it said. “This would include a decision not to make a suspicious activity report. The file note should set out the reasoning at the time the decision was made. Lawyers may wish to keep a copy in the relevant file and also in a general AML file.”
Lawyers came under the regime at the start of the month. The Department of Internal Affairs is a supervising body of the legal profession under the law. Lawyers who have an issue should contact the department directly through AMLPhase2@dia.govt.nz, the Law Society said.
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