Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Cayman Islands lobby US lawmakers to combat money laundering


Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers continued her efforts to “dispel harmful myths about the Cayman Islands” with another trip to Washington DC. Rivers met with Justin Muzinich, the deputy secretary of the US Treasury, as well as US senators, members of Congress, senior Congressional staff, and other federal agency officials to lobby for Cayman’s offshore sector and the leadership role she said Cayman is taking to combat money laundering and ensure tax transparency.

The Cayman Islands received a damning evaluation from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recently and the minister has begun implementing a new batch of legislation to meet the recommendations made in the report on how Cayman should reduce its risk and vulnerabilities. But Rivers said she was in the capital of the United States to engage with decision-makers there about the “longstanding beneficial relationship in financial services between the US and Cayman” and to push “Cayman’s culture of transparency and regulatory compliance”.

Rivers also claimed that she “provided valuable information to US lawmakers regarding Cayman’s strong beneficial ownership identification regime” as Congress considers legislation for new beneficial ownership collection requirements in the US.

“These meetings are critical in explaining to US lawmakers the facts about Cayman’s financial services industry, and the significant and effective role Cayman plays in the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes,” Rivers said in a release about her latest trip.

“We also offered the US Congress and US Treasury the benefit of our experience in implementing beneficial ownership laws, should they take the next step in corporate compliance by making disclosure of company ownership to the US government mandatory,” she added.

Read MoreCayman: Attorney general takes aim at anti-money laundering assessment

Cayman works closely with the United States to share information to prevent tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing, and she assured lawmakers in Washington DC that Cayman cooperates with the US Treasury and Internal Revenue Service so that those doing business in Cayman are compliant with American laws.

Rivers and her delegation met with Senator Tim Scott, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee’s Financial Institutions Subcommittee, and member of the Senate Finance Committee to discuss Cayman’s adoption and enforcement of international standards for tax transparency and anti-money laundering.

They also met Representative Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, who, alongside Scott, is responsible for laws regulating US banks, investment firms, and credit unions.

Representative Yvette Clarke, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on the Caribbean, and senior staff members of Representative. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman for the House Financial Services Committee, senior Democratic and Republican staff members of the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee also met the Cayman team.

Along with the congressional outreach, the delegation took part in meetings with high-ranking officials from the US Department of State and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the primary regulator for the nationally chartered US bank.

“Through these meetings, we have taken significant steps to dispel harmful myths about the Cayman Islands,” said the minister. “Key legislators, congressional staff, and senior agency officials now have the information they need to combat persistent inaccurate stereotypes about our country. We plan on continuing to share this information as part of our ongoing education campaign to spread the word that Cayman is a leader in implementing global compliance standards; and thus, it is no coincidence that we are also a leader among international financial centres,” she added.

Accompanying Rivers on the trip were Department of Financial Services Policy and Legislation Director Michelle Bahadur, Department of Financial Services Policy and Legislation Senior Policy Analyst Rolna DaCosta, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Managing Director Cindy Scotland and CIMA Senior Legal Counsel Angelina Partridge.


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