Swedish anti-money laundering expert to support Cayman

Government agencies participated in risk assessment workshops, led by financial transparency advisors, during the week of 26 Aug. From left, CIMA’s Senior Legal Counsel Angelina Partridge, Acting Deputy Head of Securities Supervision Division Jessica Ebanks; Ministry of Financial Services’ Senior Policy Analyst Rolna DaCosta; CIMA’s Head of Securities Supervision Division Gerald Halischuk; and Head of the Cayman Islands Anti-Money Laundering Unit Francis Arana.

Jan Tibbling, the chief public prosecutor at the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, has been seconded to the Cayman Islands to advise government’s coordination team on its response to Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s negative review of the local anti-money laundering regime.

Tibbling arrived in Cayman on Monday, 26 Aug., and will assist the government through May 2020, said Elisabeth Lees, national coordinator for Cayman’s Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group.

At the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (SECA), the equivalent of Cayman’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Tibbling’s team deals with financial crime cases including money laundering, tax crimes, and embezzlement. The anti-money laundering expert has represented Sweden at several Financial Action Task Force plenaries and he was the law enforcement FATF assessor for Austria.

“I am pleased to join the National Coordination Team, and to work with Cayman’s broader CFATF response team across the public and private sectors that is fulfilling the Islands’ global anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism, and proliferation financing commitments,” Tibbling said in a press release.

Lees noted that the FATF, in its April 2017 report on Sweden’s anti-money laundering regime, had positive words to say about SECA’s work.

“The FATF said that SECA, as a specialised investigation and prosecution agency focused on economic crimes, represents the gold standard of expertise and investigation in economic crimes, using innovative techniques,” she said in the release. “Cayman is therefore pleased that Mr. Tibbling is assisting us.”

The current focus for the National Coordination Team, in cooperation with the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, is on drafting a first follow-up report to inform the CFATF of Cayman’s progress in meeting the actions recommended in March by the regional affiliate of the global standard setting body.

The report is due to be delivered to the CFATF on 24 Sept.

In the press release, the government said several key developments that will be mentioned in the update report include the establishment of Cayman’s Financial Crimes Focus Group, of a ministerial subcommittee and of the Supervisors’ Forum.

The Financial Crimes Focus Group, which is chaired by the director of public prosecutions, ensures that intelligence, law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies work effectively by developing multi-agency policy and guidance for detecting, investigating and prosecuting financial crimes, according to government.

The Cabinet-level ministerial subcommittee oversees the anti-money laundering progress, while the supervisors’ forum, chaired by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, provides an environment for sharing information among agencies.

It is also responsible for the compliance of financial institutions, non-profits and certain non-financial businesses and professionals, such as accountants, who are subject to anti-money laundering laws.

In the first week of September, CIMA hosted AML training provided by the FATF Training and Research Institute for government agencies and the industry-regulating bodies Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association and the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants.

Lees said Cayman is in the process of carrying out AML assessments of risks in certain specific sectors, as recommended in the CFTAF mutual evaluation report, to better align its regime to higher-risk areas.

To assist with this risk assessment, consultants Financial Transparency Advisors returned to Cayman on 26 Aug., for a week of workshops involving various government agencies and ministries.

Also in August, the Department for Commerce and Investment, General Registry and the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association held several awareness sessions for jewellers and precious metal dealers, realtors, non-profits and lawyers.

CIMA will hold another session on Friday, 13 Sept. for banks, and trust and corporate service providers.

Lees said the response from all participants had been strong. “Government’s leadership on policy and legislation also has been strong and decisive,” she said, “and the private sector’s support in promoting effectiveness – including via the Cayman Islands Compliance Association, and Cayman Finance – has been robust as well.”