NASSAU, The Bahamas: The Bahamas has been de-listed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) list of non-cooperative countries and territories. The announcement was made today.
The Bahamas was subjected to an extensive independent and transparent review of its anti-money laundering systems by FATF.
*”The de-listing provides an authentication of the integrity of our systems”*, said Wendy Warren, CEO and Executive Director, Bahamas Financial Services Board. *”We are very gratified since the de-listing clearly supports the reputation of The Bahamas as a credible financial services jurisdiction. However, it is important to recognise that it is not only within the last six months that the financial systems and institutions in The Bahamas have been subject to adherence to counter money-laundering procedures. For example, since the mid 1980s, the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies (AIBT) in The Bahamas, has subscribed to a strict code of conduct, including adherence to the principles of the FATF.”*
As early as 1996, the Bahamas Government enhanced legislation by criminalising money laundering and requiring the reporting of suspicious transactions. Legislative refinements have been ongoing since then, highlighted by nine pieces of new and amended legislation enacted at the end of 2000.
The improvements through the enactment of legislation and their implementation are more than cosmetic. They ensure that all institutions providing financial services in The Bahamas adhere to a standard established by the FATF, and that all such institutions are subject to a sound level of regulatory and supervisory oversight. The implementation plan has seen a commitment by Government, among other things, to fund the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an organisation that has now been recognised by the prestigious Egmont Group.
*”The financial services industry has been operating within this new legislative and regulatory framework since the beginning of this year,”* said Ian Fair, BFSB Chairman. *”All business accepted since the beginning of 2001 is in compliance with this framework and the industry is currently bringing existing business into compliance.”*
All new and existing regulatory and supervisory agencies have likewise committed additional resources to ensure adherence by financial institutions to the legislative framework.
*”We are pleased to have the good name of The Bahamas restored,”* said Ms. Warren. *”But we will continue to pay close attention to evolving international standards to ensure continued compliance.”*
BFSB News Release
June 22, 2001
For more information:
Wendy C. Warren, CEO & Executive Director 242- 326-7001
Dan Bobbie 416-591-7783 ext. 107