**Anthony M. Johnson
Financial Intelligence Unit**
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of The Bahamas has issued updated *“Suspicious Transactions Guidelines for Financial Institutions Relating to Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism.”*.
The Guidelines replace those initially issued by the FIU in July 2001, and apply to all financial institutions in The Bahamas as defined in Section 3 of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act, 2000. They have been prepared in consultation with local regulators of financial services in The Bahamas as well as financial institutions and industry organizations.
The Financial Intelligence Unit Act, 2000 (FIUA) authorises the FIU, as an independent, administrative agency, to:
• Receive all disclosures of information made pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act, including information from a Foreign Financial Intelligence Unit (FFIU);
• Order the freezing of transactions on accounts for a period not exceeding 72 hours;
• At the request of a Foreign Financial Intelligence Unit or law enforcement authority, including the Commissioner of Police of The Royal Bahamas Police Force, order the freezing of account transactions for a further five days; and
• Require the production of such information, excluding information the subject of legal professional privilege, that the FIU considers relevant to fulfill its functions.
The FIUA empowers the FIU to issue Suspicious Transactions guidance for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, from time to time, to assist financial institutions in maintaining vigilance as well as staying abreast of new trends in money laundering and terrorism financing.
The FIU states that the Guidelines are produced *”to accord with the financial laws and business practices of The Bahamas”*.
Writing for the latest edition of BFSB’s Bahamas Financial Services Review (BFSR), Director Anthony M. Johnson says, *” The FIU is now into its sixth year of operation and has come off age. To-date, it has risen to all of the challenges encountered. These include securing adequate operational funding from central government, establishment of sound internal systems and controls, recruitment of competent Bahamian staff, gaining the confidence of stakeholders in financial services, defending against early legal challenges to use of its statutory powers and attainment of membership for The Bahamas in the Egmont Group of FIUs.”*