What's Happening

Antigua and Barbuda pass Digital Assets Regulation Bill in Lower Parliament

Antigua and Barbuda’s House of Representatives passed the Digital Assets Business Bill 2020 on May 27th, 2020. The regulatory framework aims to regulate digital asset companies that establish their operations in Antigua and Barbuda and provide protection for both exchanges and their customers. Among the main clauses of the Bill is the introduction of a tiered licensing system which requires all digital asset businesses to obtain a license for “issuing, selling, or redeeming virtual coins,” operating as a payment service, operating as an electronic exchange and for providing custodial wallet services.

The Bill gives the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) oversight to enforce the legal framework among the relevant companies. Fines up to $250,000 may be imposed for failure to comply with the legislation and additionally, there may be criminal charges for errant managers could result in imprisonment.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda noted that in drafting the Bill, consultations were held with several industry members such as Ayre Group, nChain, Bayesian Fund, and the Bitcoin Association.


Cayman Islands adopts regulatory framework for virtual asset services

The Cayman Islands has passed a package of five bills to regulate Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPS). The Virtual Asset Service Provider Law, the central piece of legislation in the regulatory framework, makes it mandatory for digital asset businesses to be registered with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). The Honourable Financial Services Minister of the Cayman Islands, the Honourable Tara Rivers, stated that the new legislation aims to facilitate innovation in financial services, to provide regulatory certainty for VASPs, to protect consumers and to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.

Regarding the licensing of VASPs, prospective licensees must demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge, experience, infrastructure and funding in line with the scope and complexity of the business. Licensed VASPs must also comply with anti-money laundering rules, prepare annual accounts and have a registered office in the Cayman Islands.

The new framework further includes a regulatory sandbox regime, which allows new innovative services to be offered with certain restrictions without the need for a full licence. The Honourable Minister explained that the sandbox licence allows CIMA to tailor restrictions, monitor covenants, set limits on the offering of the service or specify obligations “to allow it to adequately supervise an innovative activity which uses new technology”. The sandbox is intended to be for a limited timeframe and would allow the authority to assess the activity and whether legislative changes are required to existing laws.


COVID-19-related Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks and Policy Responses

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented global challenges, human suffering and economic disruption. It has also led to an increase in COVID-19-related crimes, including fraud, cybercrime, misdirection or exploitation of government funds or international financial assistance, which is creating new sources of proceeds for illicit actors.  Using information provided to the members of the FATF Global Network on April 7th and 23rd, the FATF has published a paper which identifies challenges, good practices and policy responses to new money laundering and terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities arising from the COVID-19 crisis. 

To read the full paper, please click here.

Supervision Project – Strengthening Supervisory Systems

Pictured above, from the right is Ms. Ligia Stella, Director, Sint Maarten FIU. Second on the right is Ms. Glenda Leben, CFATF’s Supervision Advisor together with DNFBP Supervision staff.


The Supervision Project fully funded by the Co-operating and Supporting Nations, namely the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland continues to provide support to Caribbean Financial Action Task Force Members. One way in which direct support is offered, is through the training of Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Supervision staff to help with building capacity in an effort to enhance supervision activities. 

As a result, the second training event was delivered to the Sint Maarten’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is the AML/CFT Supervisor for Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs). With new staff in the Supervision Department, Director of the FIU, Ms. Ligia Stella, identified the need to strengthen the capacity of team members to effectively monitor, regulate and supervise DNFBPs for compliance with AML/CFT requirements commensurate with their risks.

During the period March 11-13, 2020, focused training was provided to the team who participated in practical sessions and benefitted from one-on-one interaction, geared towards promoting a clearer understanding of the requirements of Immediate Outcome 3 – Supervision. While the region together with the world deals with the pandemic that is COVID-19, offsite and online support remains available to Members in relation to the Supervision Project.

For further information and details, please contact the Supervision Advisor, Ms. Glenda Leben at glenda.leben@cfatf.org or cfatf@cfatf.org.

The IDB publishes document on the impact of COVID-19 on Caribbean economies.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has published a document titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Economies of the Region (Caribbean)”. The document analyses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in six (6) Caribbean countries: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago, as of April 3rd, 2020. The confirmed cases and response timelines, the potential impact on economic growth and the policy measures adopted by respective country governments are discussed in the document.

To read the full document, please click here.