The Hon. Alfred Sears
Attorney General & Minister of Education

Presenting the Keynote Address at Monday’s *”Dealing With The Problems Of Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding”* Conference here in Nassau was the Hon. Alfred Sears, Bahamas Attorney General.

The one-day conference was sponsored by the UK-based International Professional Conferences (IPC) group, and chaired by Professor David Hayton of Kings College, London Law School, also Acting Justice (Bahamas).

**Money Laundering Typology**

Minister Sears spoke on the constantly changing typology of money laundering, and the need for jurisdictions to be aware of the changing methods used by money launderers and those who use the financial systems to finance terrorism. *”Our legislation must be constantly reviewed to ensure that it conforms to the ever-changing international standards,”* he said.

**International Scrutiny**

The Attorney General took the opportunity to report on the enhanced legislative and regulatory regime in The Bahamas. He reported that this regime is being monitored by the FATF, with regular progress reports prepared, on the review – in detail – of the implementation of legislation; the filing of suspicious transaction reports; analysis and follow up of reports; the conduct of money laundering investigations; and the provision of budgetary and human resources committed to the new regulatory regime.

The Bahamas recently took part in the second round of mutual evaluation exercises, conducted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. This evaluation used as its benchmark the FATF’s Forty Recommendations, the CFATF’s Nineteen Recommendations, and the Twenty Five Point FATF Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT) Criteria. Legal, financial and law enforcement experts from member countries of the CFATF carried out the evaluation, conducting a wide range of interviews with officials both in the public and private sectors.

The mutual evaluation of The Bahamas was discussed at the October Plenary of CFATF and approved by the Ministerial Council. Minister Sears said the report was a fair commentary on the anti-money laundering regime in The Bahamas, and it complimented the steps taken both in passing legislation to address deficiencies in the nation’s anti-money laundering regime and, importantly, in implementing that legislation. *”Generally,”* he said, *”The Bahamas was praised for being a well-regulated jurisdiction.”*

The Bahamas is undergoing an Offshore Financial Centre (OFC) Assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This commenced on October 21 and is expected to conclude on November 1. One aspect of the assessment is conducted using the new Methodology for Assessing Compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Standards (AML/CFT) recently adopted by the IMF in conjunction with the FATF.

**Anti-Terrorism Initiatives**

Ministers participating in the Ministerial Council Meetings of CFATF in The Bahamas earlier this month agreed to expand the mandate of the regional group to include the FATF’s Eight Special Recommendations dealing with the financing of terrorism.

Minister Sears noted that a key component of the Special Recommendations is that countries should have in place legislation prohibiting terrorism and the financing of terrorism. He announced that the Bahamas Government is now in the final stages of preparing legislation for presentation to Parliament, to comply with the Eight Special Recommendations, the UN Convention on Terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

**Regional and International Goals**

As new Chairman of CFATF, Mr. Sears has indicated that his primary goals are:

(a) Keeping abreast of money laundering methodologies through the typology exercises programme;

(b) Spreading the “anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism” message through a region-wide pubic education and awareness raising campaign

(c) Raising the profile of CFATF both regionally and globally by harmonising strategies with other anti-money laundering organisations in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

He also has pledged to assist the three remaining member states with their removal from the FATF’s NCCT list, noting that CFATF is committed to the fight against money laundering.