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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Forum aims to fill gaps in financial crime fight

Forum aims to fill gaps in financial crime fight

As Cayman works to fill the gaps in its regime dealing with financial crime that were identified by the Financial Action Task Force, and battles potential black-listing, the Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) held a forum recently for industry stakeholders to improve their awareness regarding professional money laundering, how to spot terrorism financing, and crime involving complex corporate structures.
Officials said in a press release that the forum provided an environment for law enforcement and financial services industry representatives to discuss and share information that may help detect, prevent and disrupt money laundering and wider economic crime threats in the Cayman Islands.

Class A banks compliance representatives, corporate services providers and mutual fund administrators attended, along with representatives from the Financial Reporting Authority, the police and the National Coordination Team for the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG).

“There are great benefits to having law enforcement and the private sector working together, because the scale and complexity of serious organised crime – including financial crimes such as money laundering – requires active partnership between government and industry,” said the FCIU’s Detective Chief Inspector Richard Barrow.

“The Stakeholders Forum therefore recognises and accommodates where the responsibilities of law enforcement, government and the financial sector overlap. Attendees have said they appreciate the ability to hold open, productive discussions on these sensitive topics,” he added.

Alongside presentations the stakeholders had small group break-out sessions regarding best practice on suspicious activity reporting. Despite claims from government for many years that it was complying with all regulations surrounding financial crime, the forum was all part of the efforts to address the shortcomings found by the FATF.

“There is a clear willingness by all parties to participate in the forum, which indicates Cayman’s commitment as a jurisdiction to global standards in these areas,” said Elisabeth Lees, the AMLSG’s National Coordinator. “The forum’s work strengthens Cayman’s ability to disrupt financial crime both domestically and internationally, which is a positive development.”

The forum is expected to continue to meet on a quarterly basis with plans to expand its membership to the wider financial services sector and designated non-financial businesses. That includes professions such as accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, and dealers of precious metals and stones that are all required to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
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