Private and public sectors join to fight financial crime

How to spot professional money laundering, terrorism financing and financial crime involving complex corporate structures were the main topics at the Financial Crime Investigation Unit’s recent stakeholder forum.

The forum aimed to provide an environment for law enforcement and financial services industry representatives to discuss and share information that may help detect money laundering and wider economic crime threats.

Compliance representatives from Class A banks, corporate services providers and mutual fund administrators attended the 25 Sept. event, together with representatives from the Financial Reporting Authority, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the national coordination team for the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force recommended greater collaboration of the public and private sectors in its evaluation of Cayman’s anti-money laundering regime.

The FCIU’s Detective Chief Inspector Richard Barrow said, “There are great benefits to having law enforcement and the private sector working together, because the scale and complexity of serious organised crime – including financial crimes such as money laundering – requires active partnership between government and industry.

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“The stakeholders forum therefore recognises and accommodates where the responsibilities of law enforcement, government and the financial sector overlap. Attendees have said they appreciate the ability to hold open, productive discussions on these sensitive topics.”
Following presentations from the experts, the forum participants joined small group break-out sessions to share general characteristics that underlie suspicious activity and best practices when filing a suspicious activity report.

“There is a clear willingness by all parties to participate in the forum, which indicates Cayman’s commitment as a jurisdiction to global standards in these areas,” said Elisabeth Lees who, in her role as the AMLSG’s national coordinator, supports government and the private sector’s response to the CFATF report.

The forum is expected to continue to meet on a quarterly basis. It will eventually expand its membership to the wider financial services sector and designated non-financial businesses and professions, such as accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, and dealers of precious metals and stones, which are also required to comply with Cayman Islands anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

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