Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Bahamas deputy PM rejects FATF criticism concerning money laundering prosecutions

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While The Bahamas has been criticized by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for not having enough prosecutions for money laundering activities, deputy prime minister and minister of finance, Peter Turnquest, said this country has had a significant number of prosecutions but has simply not recorded and reported them in any tangible way.

Turnquest, who spoke to reporters on the matter last Wednesday, said measures are now being taken that will allow these types of matters to be tracked end-to-end. He added that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) had not been given the resources to be more effective at prosecutions and reporting, but now it will.

“One of the criticisms that we have had is that we have not had enough prosecutions according to whatever statistics the FATF is looking at,” he said.

“We have in fact had prosecutions for money laundering activities and we have had effective investigations that were fully vetted and closed, with some action having been taken. Also, there have been some administrative remedies that have been instituted in others. Some have been administratively disposed of because there was no substance behind them.

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“Part of the improvements they are doing now at the FIU, is a software system that will track suspicious transaction reports from the time they’re reported, to the referral to the police department for investigation, to the receipt of that information back to the FIU and to the disposal of the case and feedback to the reporting officer, so that the full loop is closed.”

Turnquest said the new system would also allow for the number of reports to be documented and a log created for how the cases were disposed of.

He said this country will now be able to document to the financial watchdogs that it is in being effective in its oversight from an anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism perspective.

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