The Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigations has secured court orders freezing US$200 million as part of the agency’s anti-money laundering efforts.
The money is held in a combination of Cayman-based and foreign accounts.
Richard Barrow, chief inspector of the bureau, in a press release from Government Information Services, said that the funds are being held as part of “several active investigations, a small number of which relate to the potential financing of terrorism”.
The bureau was established in March 2020, building on the work of an interim task force set up in April 2019. It is a separate entity from the Financial Crime Investigation Unit, which deals primarily with domestic financial crime matters.
The bureau is tasked with investigating complex, cross-border financial crimes, and analysing intelligence and financial transactions. It was set up to ensure that money laundering matters, in line with the risk profile of the jurisdiction, were being identified and investigated, as well as to satisfy a number of Recommended Actions (RAs) specified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The team consists of specialists with experience in the Cayman Islands, the UK, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Sweden. It incorporates 11 experts, including financial investigators, police and financial analysts, including a specialist investigator in cryptocurrency transactions.
The newly appointed head of the bureau, Victoria Templeman, said in the press release she believes the unit will develop into a “global centre for excellence”.
Templeman said the bureau works in partnership with “entities such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL”, conducting “[i]nvestigation, collaboration and intelligence sharing with counterparts across the globe”.
The national coordinator for the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG), Elisabeth Lees, added: “Although it is still in its infancy, the Bureau, along with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, has already secured restraint orders, which are proven tools to prevent the dissipation of assets by money launderers.”
Cayman is awaiting the final outcome of observation by the FATF, which began in February 2019. The process required the implementation of 63 Recommended Actions specified by the FATF’s regional body (the CFATF or Caribbean Financial Action Task Force) in their mutual evaluation report. The FATF will deliver its assessment on Cayman’s progress later this month.