Barbados Close To Clean Bill Of Health On Money-Laundering.

Image: Central Bank of Barbados.
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The global  Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has agreed that Barbados has successfully completed its remedial plan to put in place barriers to  financial instutions in the island being used for various international crimes, and qualifies for an on-site visit early next year to verify that all is well.

This is the final step in the country’s quest to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force list of jurisdictions under enhanced monitoring, known as the grey list.

There is also a ‘blacklist’ which contains the names of countries regarded as ‘uncooperative’.

Barbados’ removal from the grey list signifies that the country has made substantial progress in strengthening the effectiveness of its regime to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Barbados was represented by Attorney General Dale Marshall and Cheryl Greenidge, Director of Bank Supervision at the Central Bank of Barbados.

Mr. Marshall said “This has been  quite a journey since our action plan was adopted in 2020. A trigger in this entire process was financial sector assets reaching the amount of 5 billion US dollars. We have always been uncomfortable with this criterion, since it does not take into account such things as risks, and that casts doubt about its suitability in determining a country’s impact on the global financial system.”

In explaining the need for the on-site visit, the Attorney General said, “Barbados, since the adoption of the Action Plan, has put a large and varied body of measures in place to address the recommendations…

“Some of these measures were statutory and others had to do with improving our regulatory and law enforcement frameworks. We have addressed all of the areas in the action plan, and the FATF now needs to be satisfied that the measures are in fact tangible and sustainable. Every country that is in this process has to go through an on-site visit.”

The presence of Barbados on the FATF enhanced monitoring list triggered Barbados being at one time placed on the European Union AML blacklist, and both have had a deleterious effect on doing business in, and from Barbados.

Such is the case whether it is Barbadians or foreign investors, largely because of the negative impact on correspondent banking relationships.

Correspondent banks are, in simple terms, the intermediary banks which transfer money in and out of Barbados. In the face of severe penalties levied elsewhere, these banks are often overly cautious of jurisdictions that are on the EU blacklist.

Now Barbados is one step away from being delisted and this will confirm to correspondent banks overseas, as well as existing and prospective investors,  that Barbados remains a safe and reputable jurisdiction to continue to do business, both at a domestic level and at an international level.

During the on-site visit, scheduled for early 2024, the FATF assessors will take a look at all of the regulatory agencies, law enforcement, the judiciary, government officials and the private sector to confirm that the action plan has been properly implemented.

The assessors will then submit a formal report to the FATF at its February 2024 Plenary meeting, at which Barbados will receive confirmation of whether it will be delisted.

The Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of theG7 to develop policies to combat money laundering and to maintain certain interest. In 2001, its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.

Source: Barbados GIS, Wikipedia.
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