Year In Review: Cayman addresses anti-money laundering shortcomings

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The report released by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force(CFATF) in March 2019 has revealed that the Cayman Island has setbacks in its ability to evaluate and understand the risk associated with money laundering and terrorist financing. The observation which emerged from the national risk assessment in 2015 has identified the non-existence of large money laundering investigations and lack of focus on international money laundering. The report further noted that the assessment does not have provisions for legal people nor does it have for financial sectors not subject to investigations like lawyers. The CFATF gave 60 recommendations to Cayman which needs to completely executed before February 2020, and the government has acted in line with the recommendations by building a dedicated task force comprising the attorney general, the deputy governor, and several ministers to coordinate the implementation, and the force has started working aggressively to correct the setbacks identified.

Every concerned public sector is currently taking necessary measures, and a legal amendment has been made with regulations for the previously excluded group. Extra funding was also approved in April to finance the acquisition of human and infrastructural facilities needed for the implementations of the recommendations. In July, 10 of the 11 bills has been presented in the Legislative Assembly to enhance the Cayman’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing framework. The Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association is already recognized as the regulatory body for legal practitioners with the Cayman Attorneys Regulatory Authority primarily in charge. The police have also strengthened its focus on money laundering and terrorist investigations by partnering with Economic Crime Unit in London and National Crime Agency in the UK for effective training in processes and procedures of criminal investigation and risk evaluation.

Several awareness meetings have been organized by the joint bodies for luxury goods sectors, non-profits, and lawyers, and the National Coordination team and prepared a report to update the CFATF on the progress on its implementation knowing that they have until 21 February 2020 to fully complete the implementations.