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“No Further AML-CFT Measures Required for Cayman Islands” – New EU Report

24 June 2022

According to a recent report, the European Union is satisfied that no further measures will be required beyond those already made in their Cayman Islands action plan for the Financial Action Task Force. Existing measures are sufficient to remove the self-governing overseas territory from the EU’s anti-money laundering list.

What Next for Cayman Islands?

This confirmation came in mid-May when The Minister of Financial Services and Commerce for Cayman received a letter from the European Commission’s DG FISMA (Directorate-General for Financial Services and Capital Markets Union).

Subsequently, the Directorate-General for Financial Services and Capital Markets Union asked the Cayman Islands Minister responsible (Hon. André Ebanks) to go ahead and implement the action plan. The EU intends to monitor this implementation through FATF's International Cooperation Review Group.

The Cayman Islands has already adhered to one of the three points that the European Union raised and is now required to update the Review Group on the two further points. These relate to beneficial ownership, and sanctions and prosecutions over money laundering matters.

Once the Cayman Islands is off the FATF list, the European Union will begin the process of delisting the country from its own list of concerning jurisdictions.

European Union taking AML/CFT Funding Seriously

The DG FISMA letter pointed out how seriously the EU takes the matter of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism responsibilities in line with international partners. FATF international standards have improved greatly, and the European Union has subsequently created a more robust framework.

The EU’s AML/CFT list is part of a wider framework that make up AMLD (Anti-Money Laundering Directive). Its aim is to identify those third countries with high-risk strategic deficiencies. In turn, this data is used to protect its internal market through measures like enhanced due diligence.

Also in mid-May, DG FISMA representatives and Minister Ebanks along with a delegation from the ministry met to discuss the measures and current progress. Further, they discussed what might happen next in the process of seeking removal. They met at locations in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Recent Milestones are “Significant”

According to the Ministry, the EU’s recent decision acknowledges that the Cayman Islands have achieved many significant milestones recently – both from government and the financial services operating in Cayman. The Cayman Islands Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group oversees these changes; its current chair is Hon. Samuel Bulgin, QC.

The Cayman Islands continue to improve financial transparency and have urged financial services to continue with the recent consistency and quality gains with regards to information reporting on beneficial ownership. To continue to make these gains will soon see Cayman Islands removed from both FATF, and then the European Union’s AML/CFT list soon afterwards.

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