Get tougher on money laundering, Guernsey told

Guernsey has been urged to strengthen its financial penalties relating to money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in a report issued on Friday by the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee, MONEYVAL.

While conceding that Guernsey had improved its regime, and was “largely compliant” with international money laundering guidelines, MONEYVAL said there was still room for improvement.

“Given the size of the bailiwick’s financial sector and its status as an international financial centre, the relatively limited number of cases involving third party ML [money laundering] by participants of the financial industry and the amounts of property laundered and confiscated, despite the increase in overall statistics, still indicates room for a more effective application of the ML provisions,” MONEYVAL said, in a summary of the findings contained in its 322-page report.

MONEYVAL urged the Guernsey authorities to increase the penalties they applied to financial institutions found to be money laundering.

“Further progress is needed in the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions concerning money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and the use of restraint and confiscation orders could also be improved,” it said.

MONEYVAL conceded, however, that Guernsey has a “mature legal and regulatory system”, which it said had been “enhanced by the introduction of modern legislation”.

‘Positive assessment’

Guernsey Finance, the  promotional organisation for Guernsney’s financial services industry, saw MONEYVAL comments as largely encouraging.  “We are delighted that Guernsey has received this positive assessment from MONEYVAL, as it demonstrates the high standards that all firms in Guernsey work to,” Guersey Finance chief executive Dominic Wheatley said in a statement.

Guernsey Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq was also upbeat about the findings, saying: “As a jurisdiction with a global finance sector, we need to demonstrate that we continue to meet in practice the highest international standards of law enforcement and regulation – and we have done so.”

The report, which can be seen here, contains an analysis of Guernsey’s implementation of international and European standards on money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as a recommended action plan.

Guernsey has been given until 2017 to report back to MONEYVAL.

MONEYVAL’s full name is the “Committee of experts on the evaluation of anti-money laundering measures and the financing of terrorism”.

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