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Government 28 Feb, 2023 Follow News

Head of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, Francis Arana, Hon. Attorney General Samuel Bulgin KC, Hon. Minister for Financial Services and Commerce, Andre Ebanks

The Cayman Islands has moved a step closer to being removed from the so-called ‘grey list’ of countries under intense scrutiny by the Financial Action Task Force(FATF), the global agency which monitors the international financial services sector.

The welcome news has been relayed by Hon. Minister for Financial Services and Commerce, André Ebanks who attended a recent FATF meeting in Paris.

Following significant progress last year, FATF confirmed at the October 2022 plenary that the Cayman Islands had only one remaining recommended action to address. That was ‘Investigations and prosecutions of money-laundering cases.

“They occur in sequence,” Minister Ebanks explained. “First is that offences are investigated, followed by offenders being successfully prosecuted; and second, that the courts apply effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions to those convicted.

The FATF added the Cayman Islands to this list in February 2021 and required the jurisdiction to complete three recommended actions in order to be removed from the grey list.

According to the statement from the Financial Services ministry, these were the remaining three actions from a previous list of 63 shortcomings 63 actions recommended in March 2019 by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), to strengthen Cayman’s anti-money laundering processes.

The CFATF supports the FATF’s global work in the Caribbean region

An official statement from his the Ministry of Financial Services states that the Cayman Islands is pleased that the FATF has duly noted “our continuous progress toward completing the final recommended action regarding investigations and prosecutions of money laundering cases.”

“Our aim is to demonstrate significant progress in time for the FATF June plenary, and therefore avoid the need for FATF to consider next steps for insufficient progress,” Mr Ebanks is quoted as saying.

The FATF sets the global regulatory standard for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML), and it also monitors countries for their compliance with this standard.

Mr Ebanks said: “For FATF to consider this recommended action as addressed the Cayman Islands must demonstrate, among other things, that those convicted have been sentenced.”

He confirmed that, in accordance with FATF procedures, the Cayman Islands will provide an update during the FATF Joint Group’s review meeting this April, prior to the FATF Plenary this June.

Among other matters, plenary agendas include determining if countries will be added or removed from FATF’s list of countries that, because of deficiencies in their AML regimes, are under increased FATF monitoring.

At the recent meeting held in Paris from 20-24 February, Min. Ebanks was accompanied by Hon. Attorney General Samuel Bulgin KC, and Head of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, Francis Arana.

The Attorney General oversees the Cayman Islands’ AML/CFT regime, and the Chief Officer in the Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce is the AMLSG’s deputy chair.

The FATF sets the global regulatory standard for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), and monitors countries for compliance.

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