The Egmont Group secretariat has chosen to establish a new permanent global headquarters in Toronto.
The organization, named for the Belgian palace where it was formed in 1995, is the international coordinating body for global anti-money laundering agencies.
The Egmont group’s mandate is to combat money laundering by acting as a central agency responsible for compiling, analyzing and disseminating financial information.
The Egmont group has 101 members whose representatives meet three times a year, and is made up of financial intelligence units from across the globe.
The Cayman Islands joined the Egmont group in 2001, and is now represented by the Financial Reporting Authority, which was formed in 2003.
“The FRA sees the establishment of a permanent headquarters for the secretariat of the Egmont Group as a positive development that will certainly contribute to enhanced coordination and information sharing among its member financial intelligence units,” said Lindsey Cacho, director, Financial Reporting Authority.
Remarking on the decision to headquarter the organization permanently in Toronto, Mr. Cacho also mentioned that the Canadian city was recommended by an Egmont sub-committee and approved by a vote from the complete Egmont Group membership.
“This development signifies the constant progress required to fight global financial crime; something to which the Cayman Islands is deeply committed as evidenced by the comprehensive regime we have established.”
The FRA communicates with the Egmont group through the Egmont Secure Web mechanism, and continues to work with Egmont to ensure their systems and data are compatible with other Egmont members.
Cayman Islands Portfolio of Finance and Economics spokesman Ted Bravakis remarked that a report released in March 2005 by the IMF found the overall compliance structure in the Cayman Islands with regard to international anti-money laundering efforts to be very strong.
This was in addition to the FRA’s actions recently contributing to the resolution of two major criminal cases and upholding the findings in another case in 2005.
A report tabled on 4 November, 2005, by the FRA showed that the Cayman Islands financial sector is demonstrating vigilance by systematically monitoring for money laundering activities.
‘Our studies have shown that anti-money laundering actions are being actively pursued by all of our financial industries. The Cayman Islands has taken a leadership role in ensuring this trend continues,’ said Mr. Bravakis.
In the 2004-2005 fiscal year, the SRA received 244 reports of suspicious financial activities, of which 88 garnered further action through onward disclosure to the appropriate law enforcement agency.