As published on tribune242.com, Tuesday February 25, 2020.
A Cabinet minister told a Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) hosted workshop that this nation is “devoted to meeting the highest international standards of tax cooperation and tax transparency”.
Elsworth Johnson, minister of financial services, trade and industry and Immigration, made the comments at a Financial Crimes Enforcement event that was held less than a week before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) confirmed that The Bahamas has made progress in its efforts to escape a listing of nations with “strategic deficiencies” in their anti-money laundering regimes.
The workshop, staged in collaboration with global consulting firm, AlixPartners, and US law firm, Kostelanetz & Fink, was held on February at the British Colonial Hilton and attended by 150 financial services industry and legal professionals.
It took place three days before the FATF determined that The Bahamas had “substantially completed” the action plan designed to remedy weaknesses in its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regime.
The global standard setter in the fight against financial crime said The Bahamas now “warrants an on-site assessment” to verify that it has begun implementing the reforms, and that the “necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain” this effort going into the future.
K Peter Turnquest, deputy prime minister, in his opening remarks to the workshop said: “This event on financial crimes enforcement is most relevant given the global attention given to high-profile cross border investigations, data leaks and regulatory findings.
“For better or worse, The Bahamas is part of a global multilateral process by which national governments collectively review, investigate and prosecute financial crimes and non-compliance matters. It is incumbent on us to be at the forefront of industry developments, and to be proactive in our efforts to secure and strengthen our position as a global financial centre”.
The workshop gave attendees an international perspective on compliance challenges, and insight into how to adapt to current regulatory requirements in the compliance field. Speakers included former members of the US Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division (IRS-CI), the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) and various Bahamian practitioners. Speakers and panellists addressed topics including: