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UK Government Modifies Advisory On Antigua & Barbuda

Tax-news.com

23 November 2000


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The UK government has announced its decision to modify a Financial Advisory against Antigua and Barbuda. In a press release issued earlier this week Prime Minister Bird stated: 'I am pleased that the UK government has recognised how much we have done and are still doing.'

The original Advisory was issued against Antigua and Barbuda in 1999. Specific concerns were raised over amendments to the country's anti-money laundering law, and to legislation governing international financial services in Antigua and Barbuda. However, the UK Treasury department has now expressed confidence in Antigua and Barbuda, singling out the jurisdiction's significant efforts to improve its anti-money laundering systems.

Here is the full text of the press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda:

UK government modifies advisory on Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Lester Bird has welcomed the British Government's modification of its Financial Advisory on Antigua and Barbuda.

The modified Advisory was issued today by the United Kingdom Treasury.

The new advisory follows a visit to Antigua and Barbuda by a joint team from the UK and US Treasury departments last October.

In the new UK Advisory, the Economic Secretary in the Treasury Department, Melanie Johnson, says that "The UK recognises the efforts that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has made since April 1999 to strengthen the system of supervision and control with a particular view to strengthening anti money laundering systems".

The Economic Secretary went on to state, "It is clear that there has been a step-change in the culture of combatting money laundering in the Government and supervisory structures".

The instructions to UK banks under the modified Advisory says that "it is not necessary to issue a suspicious transaction report in respect of all transactions involving Antigua , and financial institutions are not asked to avoid business with citizens of Antigua and Barbuda". Reports are now limited only "large or unusual transactions for which there is no clear economic purpose... and particular attention should be paid to transactions linked to, or sourced from, the off-shore gaming sector".

Antigua and Barbuda, found by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June this year to be fully in compliance with its 25 criteria for combatting money laundering, was not among the countries blacklisted by this international group.

Prime Minister Bird said, "I welcome the UK modification of its Advisory. The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Melanie Johnson has written to me to say 'it is clear to me (Melanie Johnson) that you and your government are demonstrating your commitment to combatting money laundering'. I am pleased that the UK government has recognised how much we have done and are still doing."


With regard to the caution on large or unusual transactions linked to the off-shore gaming sector, Mr Bird said, "It should be noted that the UK Treasury is not saying that there is any evidence that money has been or is being laundered through the off-shore gaming sector. In her letter to me Melanie Johnson said that 'in some cases it would be possible to use the gaming industry for the purposes of laundering through players accounts held with the gaming company'.

The Prime Minister Bird concluded, "My government has already drafted legislation to guard against any possibility of money laundering through the offshore gaming sector and we will shortly be taking it to parliament. In this connection, I expect the UK Advisory to be fully lifted in a matter of months."

21st November 2000

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