In another piece of legislation dealing with the fallout from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s negative review of Cayman’s anti-money laundering regime, lawmakers approved several amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Law, including a definition of virtual assets for anti-money laundering purposes.
The bill defines virtual assets as a “digital representation of value that can be digitally traded or transferred, and can be used for payment or investment purposes”.
It considers financial services related to the sale, transfer or administration of virtual assets, such as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, to be relevant financial business that is subject to anti-money laundering laws and regulations. This applies also to token sales and initial coin offerings.
Virtual assets were not part of the CFATF assessment, but were recently brought into scope by the Caribbean affiliate of the anti-money laundering standard setter.
Attorney General Samuel Bulgin confirmed during the debate on Wednesday that government is also currently working on drafting an appropriate legislative framework for virtual assets.
A change to the bill at the committee stage introduced property developments and property investments and the subsequent sale of properties without the use of a real estate agent or broker as a relevant financial business subject to anti-money laundering laws and regulations.
Other amendments address recommendations made by the CFATF in relation to certain deficiencies in the existing legislation. One amendment brings cash transaction reports, wire transfer reports and threshold-based declarations under the duties of the Financial Reporting Authority.
To satisfy the requirement that the relevant authorities cooperate and coordinate their activities on anti-money laundering, the bill further makes the Anti-Corruption Commission a member of the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group as well as the Interagency Coordination Committee.
The amendments to the law allow the Cayman Islands to bring countermeasures against countries that are blacklisted by the FATF and treat them as high-risk countries.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Alva Suckoo said he supported the bill, but noted that the Opposition was presented with a slew of last-minute amendments to the bill which made it difficult to debate the technicalities.