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EU Still Evaluating Bahamas

Screenshot 2019-03-13 at 11.06.43 AM

Despite arguments advanced by the Attorney General, Carl Bethel, Sven Giegold, a German Member of the European Parliament, with responsibility for money laundering, is not backing down from his position made, almost two weeks ago, that The Bahamas must do more to address money laundering.

Mr. Giegold went as far as to demand that The Bahamas carry out money laundering convictions.

As a result of the demand, the Attorney General  wrote the European Union, highlighting convictions carried out in The Bahamas.  According to the Mr. Bethel, 40 persons were taken before the courts on money laundering charges, with 20 of them being convicted between 2016 and the end of 2018.

Mr. Bethel  stated that millions of dollars have been confiscated as a result and pumped into the confiscated assets fund.

While appearing as a special call in guest on Love 97’s Issues of the Day, yesterday and in a direct response to the letter sent by the Attorney General  to the EU, the Coordinator on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee for the Greens Group, Giegold, acknowledged that the conviction figures were not a part of the Commission’s evaluation exercise, but that they will be taken into account.

However, beyond this, Giegold said there are quite a number of issues that still have to be addressed, all of which Bahamian officials are aware of.

“This evaluation from December 2018 is only an evaluation of the law. What we actually need is actual implementation across the board of these issues.

“What is of course of particularly disturbing is that police authorities in our member states are saying when they asked for [precise] information on beneficial owners of companies and other entities established in The Bahamas, they regularly didn’t get sufficient responses.

“But [what] we need to see is the real implementation of the changes which have been made, which I acknowledge, are up to the global standards” Mr. Giegold said.

Further, also despite the fact that one of the Attorney General’s arguments is that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) praised The Bahamas for the progress made fighting money laundering, Mr. Giegold said The Bahamas must still make a choice of whether it wants to be a normal financial center cleaning up across the board or only adapting to certain outside pressures.

When asked by the show’s host, Wendall Jones, about criticisms made that the EU continues to shift the goal posts, Mr. Giegold said that is not the objective.

“I can only say clearly that of course the world of global financial markets have changed dramatically.

“When we spoke about tax evasion and money laundering 30 years ago, it was done differently than today. So, for instance it is very clear that the whole issue or crypto currencies will become a centerpiece of new standards.

“This issue is so far not seriously addressed,  but it’s a global threat to security and has to be addressed; not only in your country, globally so the standards will develop and they will sharpen”, Mr. Giegold said.

Prior to Mr. Giegolds comments on the talk show, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest revealed that The Bahamas avoided this round of the dreaded blacklist.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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