money laundering report
The Bahamas is listed as one of the countries of primary concern on the U.S. State Department’s money laundering and financial crimes report.
“Gaps in the country’s legislation include a failure to criminalize participation in an organized criminal group and to tighten the currency transaction reporting system to track people arriving and leaving to all destinations,”said volume II of the report which is contained in the International Narcotics Report that was released days ago.
The country has been listed on such reports for years.
The report points out that Freeport Harbor has the closest offshore port to the United States and that the entire country is relatively accessible by medium sized boats.
“This makes smuggling and bulk cash money laundering relatively easy. While it is illegal for citizens of the Bahamas to gamble, gambling is legal for tourists and there are three main casinos,”it said.
The report notes that money laundering trends include”the purchase of real estate, large vehicles and jewelry, as well as the processing of money through a complex web of legitimate businesses, and international business companies registered in the offshore financial sector.”
It added that”drug traffickers and other criminal organizations take advantage of the large number of international business companies and offshore banks registered in The Bahamas to launder significant sums of money despite strict transaction reporting requirements.”
The State Department recommends that the Ingraham Administration provide adequate resources to its law enforcement, judicial, and prosecutorial bodies in order to enforce existing legislation and safeguard the financial system from possible abuses.
“The Bahamas should continue to enhance its anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing regime by implementing the National Strategy on the Prevention of Money Laundering; by ensuring full compliance with UNSCRs(United Nations Council Resolutions)1267 and 1373; and by implementing a system to collect and analyze information on the cross border transportation of currency. It should also ensure there is a public registry of the beneficial owners of all entities licensed in its offshore financial center,”the report said.
The report also noted that there were no money laundering criminal prosecutions or convictions in 2010.