As the central agency for the receipt and analysis of suspicious transaction reports, the Bahamian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is an integral part of the country’s anti-money laundering regime. Such an agency is now recognised as being essential for the existence of a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime aligned with best international standards and practice. Indeed, the Bahamas FIU is now a member of the internationally recognised Egmont Group of financial intelligence units.
A recent ruling by the Supreme Court relative to the administrative power of the FIU to freeze accounts or transactions impacts an aspect of the FIU’s function in the Bahamian anti-money laundering regime, i.e. its ability to issue a freeze order, which has not been granted by the courts. The FIU is at liberty, still, to request a court order to freeze an account ex parte. Consequently, the FIU remains able to perform the essential role of a financial intelligence unit in the detection and prevention of money laundering in The Bahamas.
Judicial review of a country’s laws speaks to the maturity of its legal system. It is a fundamental aspect of the democratic integrity of The Bahamas. The Bahamas’ evolution into a world-class financial jurisdiction is, in part, attributed to its highly regarded judicial system that fosters confidence in the domestic and international community.
Bahamas Financial Services Board Statement
November 28, 2001