Bahamas still deficient, European Parliament member claims
The Bahamas still has significant deficiencies to address in combating money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, German Member of the European Parliament Sven Giegold said yesterday.
Giegold said the European Union’s (EU) rejection of the European Commission’s dirty money blacklist, on which The Bahamas was listed, had nothing to do with The Bahamas, but was due to “concerns over the evaluation of other countries”.
The Bahamas was blacklisted by the commission on February 13, along with Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Panama, several United States territories and other jurisdictions.
The EU later rejected the commission’s blacklist because it “was not established in a transparent and resilient process that actively incentivizes affected countries to take decisive action while also respecting their right to be heard”.
Giegold, who appeared as a guest on the Love 97 FM talk show “Issues of the Day” with host Wendall Jones, said, “The member states have declared this list to be not up to their standards, but this does not mean this is the end of the listing process, and I can only repeat again that it was not because of The Bahamas that the list was not approved by the member states.”
Regarding the legislative efforts by the Minnis administration to combat money laundering, Giegold said, “The commission noted that the legislative framework has improved.
“On the other hand, this evaluation from December 2018 is only an evaluation of the law.
“What we need is actual implementation across the board of these issues.
“What is, of course, particularly disturbing is that police authorities in our member states are saying when they ask for information on beneficial owners of companies and other entities established in The Bahamas, they regularly didn’t get sufficient responses.
“What we need to see is the real implementation of the changes, which have been made and which I acknowledge are up to the global standards.”
Giegold previously described The Bahamas as “a stubborn case” that must carry out money laundering convictions in order to be removed from the commission’s blacklist.
But Attorney General Carl Bethel rejected Giegold’s comments.
In the letter to Giegold last Friday, Bethel provided information regarding The Bahamas’ efforts to address deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism legislation. He also highlighted increased convictions related to money laundering.
Giegold acknowledged receipt of Bethel’s letter and the updated information contained within it.
However, he said that The Bahamas still had numerous deficiencies to address and that the commission is looking for changes in practice, not just legislation.
“I have received the letter from your attorney general where he makes comments on my interview, and presents these new figures, which are not part of the evaluation exercise of the commission,” he said.
“I took note of this, and, of course, this should be taken into account by the commission; but beyond that, there is quite a long number of issues which have to be addressed, and the authorities from The Bahamas are well aware of that.”
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish