Virgin Islands (British) seeks to Strengthen Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Laws

On February 3rd, 2021, the Cabinet of the VI considered several pieces of legislation targeted at strengthening its national AML and CFT framework. The Cabinet considered the Bill entitled “Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2021”, which sought to amend the Criminal Code Act, 1997 to criminalise tax crimes as a predicate offence for money laundering (ML). The amendment aims to achieve technical compliance with FATF’s Recommendation 3, which focuses on the money laundering offence and predicate offences.

The Cabinet is further seeking to give remit to the Financial Investigation Agency (FIA) to take action against persons and activities that may be related to terrorist financing (TF) and ML through a Bill entitled the “Proliferation Financing (Prohibition) Act 2021”. The Proliferation Financing (Prohibition) Act 2021 seeks to repeal and replace the Proliferation Financing (Prohibition) Act, 2009 in order to meet the requirements of Recommendation 7, targeted financial sanctions related to proliferation.

Regarding its CFT efforts, the Cabinet has put forward a Bill entitled “Counter-Terrorism Act, 2021”. This law is intended to be used as a means of strengthening the current CFT legislative regime in a manner that satisfies the requirements of the FATF standards. Additionally, a Bill entitled “Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) (Amendment) Act 2021” was brought forward for discussion. The Bill facilitates the VI’s cooperation with other countries in criminal proceedings and investigations. Cabinet indicated that the first readings of each Bill will occur at the next convenient sitting.