Amendments To The Virtual Asset Act Bring St. Kitts And Nevis Further In Line With The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has again demonstrated its willingness and commitment to being a responsible member of the international community by passing several crucial amendments to the Virtual Asset Act during the Friday, May 10, 2024, Sitting of the National Assembly.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.

The Virtual Asset (Amendment) Bill, 2024, was moved through the Federal Parliament by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew. The purpose of the Bill is to tighten the provisions of the Virtual Asset Act, Cap. 21.29, to ensure compliance with international obligations with respect to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the policy-making body that sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. It defines ‘virtual asset’ as a digital representation of value that can be digitally traded, or transferred, and can be used for payment or investment purposes.

The FATF monitors member countries to ensure full and effective implementation of FATF standards and holds countries that do not comply to account.

“St. Kitts and Nevis is proud to be generally compliant with FATF standards and has follow-up assessments in November 2024. Therefore, this Bill seeks to bring the Virtual Asset Act into compliance with the most recent FATF standards ahead of that compliance assessment,” Prime Minister Drew said, while emphasizing that this move will also ensure the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis remains off the FATF grey and blacklists.

Grey-listed territories are those that are actively working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing, while blacklisted countries are those that are uncooperative with FATF standards to combat these significant threats.

Economic penalties and other restrictive measures are often imposed upon grey and blacklisted countries by other FATF members and international bodies.

In this regard, Prime Minister Drew said St. Kitts and Nevis actively updates its laws to ensure compliance with FATF recommendations.

“And so Madame Speaker, what we are seeking to do here is to make sure that St. Kitts and Nevis continues in good stead with international obligations in making sure that we do our part to protect our country from these types of crime,” Dr. Drew said.

The Virtual Asset (Amendment) Bill, 2024, received the support of members on both sides of the aisle before being passed in the National Assembly.

The bill can be found on the website of the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service at https://www.sknis.gov.kn/2024/05/10/virtual-asset-amendment-bill-2024-2/

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