While the Bahamas has shown significant progress in enacting comprehensive anti-money laundering measures, the Financial Action Task Force will continue to monitor the country as concerns persist regarding the jurisdiction’s ability to fully co-operate internationally.
“In particular, the FATF remains concerned about the ability of the Bahamian authorities to adequately respond to foreign judicial and regulatory requests,” the FATF said in a newly released report titled “Annual Review of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories”.
The FATF, which is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, also pointed to the need for continuous monitoring of jurisdictions like the Bahamas, which were once blacklisted.
The purpose of the monitoring is to ensure continued effective implementation of the reforms enacted, the report said.
Task Force officials noted that the organization is a "policy-making body" which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
As part of its reforms in 2000, the Bahamas required banks to establish a physical presence in the jurisdiction and required all pre-existing accounts to be identified.
The Central Bank also established and began to implement an ambitious inspection programme, and the Attorney General’s Office established an international co-operation unit.
“However, the FATF has continued to monitor the situation in the Bahamas, particularly in light of continuing concerns expressed by FATF members regarding inadequate international cooperation,” the report said.
The FATF monitors members' progress in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In performing these activities, the FATF collaborates with other international bodies involved in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The Bahamas was identified as a non-cooperative country in the fight against money laundering in 2000.
Parliament subsequently enacted comprehensive anti-money laundering measures, made important progress implementing these measures, and was therefore removed from the list in June 2001, the report noted.
The Bahamas also established a financial intelligence unit (FIU), which received a total of 337 suspicions transaction reports in 2002-2003 and referred 108 to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
For the period January to June 2004, the FIU received 54 additional reports and referred seven to the police.
Seven requests for information were received from foreign supervisors; Bahamian authorities had responded to three and the others were pending, the report said.
The FIU had responded to 21 of 22 requests from foreign FIUs. The Securities Commission, meanwhile, had responded to six of nine foreign regulatory requests, while three cases were still open.
The report said the International Legal Co-operation Unit had received 71 new requests for legal assistance.
The report lists the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria and the Philippines as non-cooperative jurisdictions.