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EU puts out “action plan” for strategic deficiencies

EyeWitness News Business May 9, 2020 at 3:34 am Natario McKenzie

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The European Commission has put forward an “action plan” setting out measures to better combat money laundering and terrorist financing over the next 12 months. The Bahamas has been blacklisted among with 11 other countries with “strategic deficiencies” in their regime. The Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama and Zimbabwe have been listed by the Commission. Countries which have been delisted include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Guyana, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka and Tunisia. On Thursday, the Commission said that it has put forward a comprehensive approach to further strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim of this new approach it said is to shut down any remaining loopholes and remove any weak links in the EU’s rules. The Commission also said that it has also produced a more transparent, refined methodology to identify high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes that pose significant threats to the EU’s financial system. This will enhance our engagement with third countries and ensure greater cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The plan according to the Commission said is built on six pillars, namely; the effective application of EU rules, a single EU rulebook; EU-level supervision, a coordination and support mechanism for Member State Financial Intelligence Units, enforcing EU-level criminal law provisions and information exchange and the EU’s global role. Attorney General Carl Bethel said earlier this week: “The Bahamas regrets the apparent decision of the EU Commission to signal an intention to add The Bahamas to a Blacklist which the EU Parliament mandates that the Commission maintain.  This is especially so in light of an earlier public commitment made by the EU Commission to engage in discussions with potentially affected countries prior to placing them on their Blacklist.” Bethel said: “To date, The Bahamas has not received any advanced notification or warning at any diplomatic level. The Bahamas maintains that it is attaining the highest standards in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other identified risks. “It should also be noted that the FATF at its January Plenary in Paris, France, agreed that The Bahamas should begin the exiting process from the FATF ICRG Gray List and had agreed to an on-site visit; which visit had to be postponed due only to the COVID 19 pandemic. He added: “The Bahamas remains fully committed to the highest standards of compliance with every internationally agreed standard of conduct.”

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