by Shawn Cumberbatch
Barbados’ battle against money laundering and the financing of terrorism is about to get tougher.
As part of a series of new requirements being enforced by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, the dirty money net is being spread beyond financial institutions and will now cover some of Barbados’ leading professional services, including lawyers, accountants, stock brokers, real estate agents, and automobile dealers.
Additionally, not only will Government have to conduct a national money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment, but it will have to work with Barbados’ private sector on a series of new “national anti-money laundering steering committees”. Details of these new demands were outlined today during a telephone interview with CFATF Executive, Calvin Wilson, from his office in Trinidad.
He spoke as his organisation prepared to hold the eighth Anti-Money Laundering
And Combating The Financing of Terrorism Compliance Conference here next week in partnership with the Barbados Anti Money Laundering Authority, Central Bank of Barbados, Barbados International Business Association and Barbados Association of Compliance Professionals.
By virtue of being a member of CFATF Barbados has agreed to implement counter measures against money laundering and with the latest revised recommendations issued last year by the international Financial Action Task Force.
As a result, Wilson told Barbados TODAY, the named professionals would now be under the microscope.
The official said these individuals were not being picked on, but had been selected for surveillance as a result of CFATF “typology exercises” in Barbados and its neighbours. These exercises had found evidence of suspicious transactions and related court prosecutions in these areas of activity.
“We are seeing that lawyers, accountants, and the real estate sector, for example, are being involved in criminal money laundering activity and so to meet those threats they have extended the need for vigilance by all these communities in terms of reporting suspicious transactions within their various establishments and sectors,” he said.
Wilson said such transactions would have to be reported to the Barbados Financial Intelligence Unit “so that the FIU in turn can share that information with the police, the police can investigate the nature of the criminality and to mount prosecutions where necessary and bring the people to court and confiscate their assets”.
“Previously the recommendations were more targeted to banks, financial institutions, non bank financial institutions and so on, so now these people are brought within the framework and they have to be educated as well in terms of what their requirements are, who is the supervisory body, why they need to comply and the role that they play in protecting the national reputation.”
As for the new measures Government would have to comply with, the CFATF spokesman said having a national risk assessment would allow Barbados to “implement all the recommendations based upon the level of risk in Barbados with regard to money laundering and the financing of terrorism”.
“In the past people generally around the region and around the world would say the FATF recommendations couldn’t be implemented based upon a one size fits all framework, so now the countries are getting the chance to implement the recommendations based upon what is happening in their particular jurisdiction,” he explained.
“So that’s a new development and it’s very important so it requires the country to assess their risk and document the risk so that they can share it with assessors who are coming to examine their country’s performance at some stage in the future.”
Another requirement was national anti-money laundering steering committees, and Wilson said the intention was to “ensure that all the stakeholders in Barbados in the public and the private sector are aware as to what the requirements are to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and to ensure that the country is properly prepared, … in keeping with the international standards.
“So it’s like a national effort bringing everyone on board in essence to protect the reputation of the country, to protect its financial system form criminals and people who finance terrorism and to protect by extension the regional and the international financial system from the same threats of money laundering and terrorist financing activity,” he added.
Wilson said since Barbados was already “in the middle” of its third CFATF/FATF assessment it had another two years to get the new requirements in place. He also said next week’s conference was “very important for educating the public and the private sector in Barbados on the requirements of the revised FATF recommendations”. firstname.lastname@example.org