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Antigua & Barbuda - Money Laundering

The U.S. State Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs recently claimed that Antigua and Barbuda "remains susceptible to money laundering" because of gaming and "its loosely regulated offshore financial sectors."

The recent report recently released by the bureau charged that the country's Office of National Drug Control and Money Laundering Policy (ONDCP) and its Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) are receiving four suspicious activity reports from domestic and offshore gaming entities per week. The internet gaming companies headquartered in the islands are required to enforce "Know-your-customer" verification procedures, maintain records that are related to all gaming and financial transactions of each customer for six years and report suspicious activities to both the FSRC and the ONDCP.

It has also been claimed that, in recent years, a number of Antiguan and Barbuda government civilian and law enforcement officials, both in and out of the ONDCP, received anti-money laundering training, adding that despite the comprehensive nature of The Money Laundering (Prevention) Act of 1996, Antigua and Barbuda has yet to prosecute a money laundering case on its own, but seeks the extradition of two people from the UK and Canada on money laundering charges. Nevertheless, nearly $3.4 million has been frozen in Antigua and Barbuda in connection with the case.

The report also mentioned out that “no known evidence of terrorist financing has been discovered in Antigua and Barbuda to date.

However, it urged that the government of Antigua and Barbuda should “take the necessary legislative and regulatory steps to ensure its gambling sector is properly covered by anti-money laundering legislation and is strictly supervised.

“Additionally,” said U.S. officials, “Antigua and Barbuda should vigorously enforce its anti-money laundering laws by actively prosecuting money laundering and asset forfeiture cases (and) should ensure that all offshore banks licensed there have a physical presence, consistent with international standards.