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BVI completes UK-OT illicit finance dialogue

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – Deputy premier and minister for financial services, labour and trade, Lorna Smith, announced on Friday, March 15, the successful completion of the first year of the UK-OT Illicit Finance Dialogue, which the Virgin Islands has co-chaired with the UK for the last 12 months.

The dialogue, which was established by Joint Ministerial Council, brings together the Overseas Territories with key UK government departments, including HM Treasury, the National Crime Agency and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The overall objective is to discuss and agree on measures to combat illicit finance and identify ways in which the jurisdictions can better collaborate to fight financial crime.

Minister Smith said:

“Financial crime is a scourge across the global financial system as various players with ill intent target our services for their own illegitimate ends. The Overseas Territories and the UK are no exception. But we also know that the more we work together, the better we are able to defend against these attacks. The Virgin Islands government was proud to be chosen to be the first co-chair of the dialogue and we have made considerable progress in the first year. All the Overseas Territories have actively participated and have been fully engaged in the dialogue. The ministerial level dialogue which I co-hosted with FCDO minister, David Rutley was very productive and I look forward to the continuation of this engagement between the UK and ourselves.”

Areas of focus for the Dialogue over the last year have included sanctions, law enforcement collaboration, beneficial ownership and international regulations on illicit finance.

The Dialogue attendees have agreed that sanctions units will be established in the Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos and, to ensure that law enforcement keeps abreast of trends in financial services, authorities in the Overseas Territories will also be attending training by the UK’s National Crime Agency on Cryptocurrencies.

On beneficial ownership, the work of the UK-OT technical working group will continue, while the Overseas Territories and the UK will work towards ensuring that the requirements of global standard setters, including the FATF, are met in good order and to their satisfaction.

The Dialogue was attended by government leaders from Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos and St Helena as well as David Rutley MP, UK Government Overseas Territories minister and Baroness Vere of Norbiton, parliamentary under-secretary at HM Treasury.

“The Overseas Territories and the UK are determined to fight financial crime in whatever form it comes. I am confident that this unified approach will strengthen our deterrent as well as our position in the global financial system. The Cayman Islands government will now take over as co-chair of the Dialogue and I look forward to working with them as we continue to reinforce the robustness of our financial services sectors,” minister Smith concluded.

The government of the Virgin Islands remains resolute in the promotion of the overall development of the Territory through commitment and sustainable transformation.



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