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Seychelles Underlines Tough Stance On Money Laundering With New UN Treaty

Lisa Ugur, Tax-news.com, London

14 December 2000


Seychelles Vice President James Michel this week attended a four-day UN meeting in Palermo, Sicily, where he signed the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. According to Mr Michel, the Seychelles’ signing of the international treaty is an expression of the resolve of the Seychelles government to eradicate the potential for money laundering and to support the fight against organised crime. Mr Michel hopes that the Convention will be ratified at the earliest opportunity.

At a press conference, the Vice President said the Palermo meeting provided the Seychelles with the opportunity to reiterate, in the most emphatic terms, that "we are totally opposed to the concept of money laundering". He confirmed that the Seychelles had already taken a number of steps to protect the jurisdiction from money laundering and these included accession to all international conventions relating to narcotics.

Mr Michel said the Seychelles was committed to the international fight against money laundering on both an international and domestic level. He stated that the jurisdiction was keen to adhere to the Minimum Performance Standards established by the United Nations Offshore Forum. At the same time, he said, the Seychelles has enacted its own legislation and regulations, as well as welcoming international agreements to exchange information and establish links for investigative purposes.

Mr Michel stated: 'The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1996, for instance, criminalises money laundering, and requires financial institutions to maintain identification procedures, record-keeping procedures and to make orders in relation to the proceeds of crime and properties of offenders and to designate money-laundering as an extraditable offence. That is why we have put in place measures and legislation that reflect our commitment to fight money laundering and organised crime.'

It was inevitable, perhaps, that the Vice President should touch on the thorny issue of the G-7 efforts to clamp down on offshore financial centres. Obviously referring to the Financial Action Task Force and OECD blacklists of earlier this year, he said that that it was an area of concern that some international agencies have "inappropriately labelled" offshore jurisdictions as havens for money launderers. He said it was grossly unfair and penalises legitimate offshore jurisdictions which operate in a legal and transparent manner: 'Offshore centres, when well managed and controlled, offer a legitimate alternative in the international investment arena,' he stated.

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