The British Virgin Islands Territory will be hosting a high-level meeting aimed at combating global illicit financial flows this week.
That’s the news from finance minister Lorna Smith, who told the House of Assembly on that “senior officials” from the Overseas Territories and the United Kingdom will be meeting in the Virgin Islands from September 12 to 14 for a meeting on Illicit Finance.
The meeting will be co-chaired by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office and the Government of the Virgin Islands.
Officials from the governments of Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United Kingdom are expected to be present in the Territory for the meeting, while representatives from the Governments of the Falkland Islands and St. Helena will join in online.
Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another.
This movement is classified as an illicit flow when funds are illegally earned, transferred, and/or utilized across an international border. Some examples of illicit financial flows might include:
- A drug cartel using trade-based money laundering techniques to mix legal money from the sale of used cars with illegal money from drug sales;
- An importer using trade misinvoicing to evade customs duties, value-added tax, or income taxes;
- A corrupt public official using an anonymous shell company to transfer dirty money to a bank account in the United States;
- A human trafficker carrying a briefcase of cash across the border and depositing it in a foreign bank; or
- A member of a terrorist organization wiring money from one region to an operative in another.
Experts estimate that the annual value of trade-related IFFs in and out of developing countries has amounted to, on average, about 20 percent of the value of their total trade with advanced economies.
The Deputy Premier stated that the primary goal of this gathering is “to foster open dialogue, engagement, and collaboration, guided by principles of transparency, financial integrity, and a collective commitment to addressing illicit finance through enhanced cooperation.”
Smith also highlighted that this meeting is intended to prepare for discussions between ministers scheduled to be held between leaders of OT governments and the UK in November of this year.
“Members may recall that the establishment of a ministerial-level dialogue aimed at addressing illicit finance was agreed upon during the Joint Ministerial Council between UK and OT Ministers earlier this year in May,” Smith stated.
The Deputy Premier added that some Overseas Territories, along with the United Kingdom operate as significant global financial centres.
She said they face common challenges and share mutual interests in safeguarding their financial sectors from threats posed by illegal financial transactions crossing international borders.
The partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories provides an opportunity and platform to collectively address shared challenges, particularly in the realms of governance and sustainable development.
“The Government of the Virgin Islands remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering the comprehensive development of the Territory by strengthening financial systems and services, supported by a foundation of sustainable transformation”, claims an official press release.
Source: BVI government press release.