Cayman Finance CEO Mr. Jude Scott today expressed his disappointment on behalf of the financial services industry, that a recent US Department of State Report listing of the Cayman Islands as a ‘country of primary concern’ was taken out of context by ComplianceAid for opportunistic reasons.
“It appears that ComplianceAid has chosen to sensationalize media reports to negatively focus on Caribbean countries for the purpose of increasing attendance at ComplianceAid’s upcoming conference in Miami”, said Mr. Scott.
Mr. Scott explained that the article in question took the information from the annual US Department of State Report out of context and implied there was primarily a problem in the Caribbean, when in fact the Report being referred to actually listed 50 plus countries around the world.
“This list of countries actually included all 8 of the G8 countries in the same category as the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean countries. The article by ComplianceAid was deceptive at best and this type of behavior intentionally, or unintentionally, by conference promoters should never be encouraged”, added Mr. Scott.
Mr. Scott explained that according to the actual report by the US Department of State, a government (e.g., the United States or the United Kingdom) can have comprehensive AML laws on its books and conduct aggressive AML enforcement efforts but still be classified a “Primary Concern” or “major money laundering” jurisdiction.
In some cases, this classification may simply or largely be a function of the size and/or sophistication of the jurisdiction’s economy. Economies that attract funds globally are vulnerable to money laundering activity because the volume and complexity of the available financial options may make criminals believe they may more easily hide their funds.
“The success of the Cayman Islands as a leading International Financial Centre with strong and sophisticated Banking and other Financial Industry Services seems to have contributed to Cayman’s continued inclusion on the lists”, said Mr. Scott.
Mr. Scott explained that the recent report is not based on an assessment of the country or jurisdiction’s legal framework to combat money laundering; any role in the terrorist financing problem; or the degree of its cooperation in the international fight against money laundering, including terrorist financing.
The Cayman Islands continues to perform very strongly when examined for the effectiveness of programs to detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, among other things, and we continue to be surprised that the country continues to be included in the classification of a country of “primary concern”, said Mr. Scott.
He confirmed that Cayman Finance is committed to working in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Government and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority to ensure that the appropriate authorities in the United States Department of State are provided with complete and accurate information on the robust anti-money laundering regime maintained in the Cayman Islands which he believes justifies a lower categorization in future reports.