Wednesday, August 05, 2009

BVI FSC Issues Anti-Money Laundering Code of Practice

In July, the BVI Financial Services Commission published a document relevant to the Anti-Money laundering legislation. The Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice, 2008 is consolidated by the Financial Services Commission on 17 February, 2009, in accordance with section 27 (1) of the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act, 1997, and after consultations with the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Advisory Committee.

As it is set in the Code, the objective of the supplementary legislation document is to provide greater understanding and appreciation of “ the current legal, regulatory and enforcement regimes with respect to compliance with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures.” The provisions of the Code establish the proportionate duties of the Financial Investigation Agency and the FSC, establish the internal control systems and requirements to customer due diligence, provide information on shell banks and correspondent banking relationships, wire transfers, record keeping and employee training.

The Schedules of the document include: best practices for charities and other non-profit associations, the list of recognized jurisdictions, the types of suspicious activities, and the table of offences and administrative penalties.

The BVI, as one of the major financial services providers, has to ensure compliance with internationally established standards of regulation and enforcement relating to anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing. The BVI is required to fully comply with the requirements of the 49 FATF Recommendations, and it fully observes the established standards of international organizations of which it has membership - International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors (OGBS) and Egmont group. The Code is aimed at achieving good corporate governance and the promotion of international co-operation to ensure financial stability; the document is setting down minimum standards of compliance, which will assist to develop and implement systems that effectively combat abusing the legitimate tools of business transactions through criminal conduct.

The Code in fact supplements the provisions of the following documents: the Drug Trafficking Act, 1992, Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act, 1997, Financial Investigation Agency Act, 2003, the Terrorism (United Nations and Other Measures (Overseas Territories) Order 2001, the Anti-terrorism (Financial and Other Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2002 and Antimoney Laundering Regulations, 2008.

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