The government is currently exploring an “outreach strategy” to cause the European Union to reconsider its “blacklisting” of The Bahamas as a jurisdiction with insufficient controls against anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), Attorney General Carl Bethel told Guardian Business yesterday.
The EU’s decision to blacklist The Bahamas is pegged to the results of an assessment conducted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last October, which lists this jurisdiction as high-risk in the area of AML/CFT.
Bethel said the government is seeking to arrange appointments to travel and meet European Commission officials, in an effort to persuade them against that position, otherwise The Bahamas would have to wait until September at the next meeting of the FATF to be delisted.
He stressed to Guardian Business that, in the meantime, The Bahamas continues to work toward becoming fully compliant with the FATF’s recommendations.
Despite the reputational damage caused to nations included on its blacklists, the European Union said its most recent list of jurisdictions that pose a threat to the bloc is not intended to “name and shame”.
“The objective of the listing process is to ensure that due diligence measures are applied in line with the identified risks, based on an assessment of strategic deficiencies in the countries concerned. The purpose is not to ‘name and shame’ countries,” the European Commission said in its report released on Wednesday.
“Rather, the list will help to ensure that the jurisdictions concerned address identified deficiencies.”
The Bahamas is one of four Caribbean nations named in the report which Guardian Business obtained, which the commission deems has insufficient controls in the areas of AML/CFT.
“Listed countries will be encouraged to rapidly address their identified strategic deficiencies and the commission is committed to supporting them where appropriate, with a view to their eventual delisting on the basis of the clear criteria set out in the methodology, including through technical assistance,” the report states.
It continued, “Moreover, the list does not aim at discouraging or reducing legitimate financial flows between the EU and listed third countries. In that regard, obliged entities should not rely on the list to justify reduction of such flows where union law does not require this. The objective is not to limit the economic or financial relations with the listed countries.
“On the contrary, the list will contribute to increase the confidence of obliged entities dealing with these countries by enabling them to adopt appropriate controls. Similarly, the nature of the list is not intended to have any undue consequences in third countries with regard to financial inclusion and activities related to non-profit organizations.”
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