The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its revised list of countries with strategic anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies on Friday and lauded The Bahamas for commitments made to strengthen its regime, though the organization suggested two issues the country needs to address.
The FATF said The Bahamas has made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to strengthen the country’s AML/CFT regime and address any deficiencies.
The global financial services sector watchdog pointed to the country’s need to demonstrate that it is carrying out more investigations into money laundering and tax crimes and it needs to identify, trace and freeze assets related to offenses.
“The Bahamas should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies, including by demonstrating that authorities are investigating and prosecuting all types of money laundering, including complex money laundering (ML) cases, standalone ML and cases involving proceeds of foreign offenses, including foreign tax crimes…and increasing the identification, tracing and freezing or restraining of assets and to present cases linked with foreign offenses and standalone ML cases,” the FATF stated.
Despite those deficiencies, the FATF lauded The Bahamas’ move to institute a protocol and case management system to further enhance international cooperation; initiate risk-based supervision of non-bank financial institutions; and further implement the “beneficial ownership law to ensure the timely access to adequate, accurate and current basic and beneficial ownership information”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said recently that the FATF tends to change its standards just as the government and the financial services sector make strides in becoming compliant. Turnquest, who was speaking at the Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) Public-Private Partnerships Forum in August, explained to forum attendees that The Bahamas has had its compliance rating upgraded, but it has fallen down in a few areas where the country did not “achieve the requisite standards”.
But those standards, he complained, have continually been changed as the country comes into compliance.
“The Bahamas has made significant strides in improving its legislation and systems, particularly in the last three years, but it appears that as soon as we get closer to meeting the standards, the requirements change,” Turnquest said.