Saint Kitts: Law of Offshore
Anti-Money Laundering Legislation
After Saint Kitts was listed by the FATF as a tax haven which was unco-operative in fighting money laundering, the government passed the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2000, the Financial Services Intelligence Unit Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2000 and the Financial Services Commission Act 2000. The latter Act intends to establish the Financial Services Commission as the main regulatory body for the offshore sector. In June 2002, Saint Kitts was removed from the FATF blacklist.
Subsequent legislation has included Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2002, and the Financial Services (Exchange of Information) Regulations 2002.
In 2008, the government announced further steps would be taken to strengthen the jurisdiction's anti-money laundering regime and introduced the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2008. The new regulation introduced stricter due diligence rules and repealed the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2001.
On 4th June 2008, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Sen Nigel Carty introduced the Payment Systems Bill, the Bills of Exchange (Amendment) Bill, the Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Financial Intelligence Unit (Amendment) Bill. Minister of National Security, Dwyer Astaphan introduced the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill at the same sitting of the National Assembly.
The Payment System Bill establishes a comprehensive legislative framework governing the establishment, maintenance and functioning of the payment system operated by the Saint Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).
The Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Bill increases the efficiency of the Financial Services Commission by endowing the Commission with powers to impose sanctions on financial institutions that are acting in a manner that violates safe prudential practices, as set out in the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Anti-money Laundering Regulations, the Anti-Terrorism Act or similar legislation.
The amendment to the Financial Services Intelligence Unit Act will expand the jurisdiction of the unit to encompass the financing of terrorist activities, and will enable the Unit to liaise with competent authorities and agencies in combating the financing of terrorism, in addition to the collaboration that is now undertaken with money laundering intelligence agencies.
The amendment to the Bill of Exchange Act, modernizes the principal 1887 Act with some critical provisions which set out alternative means of presenting a cheque, including the possibility of electronic presentment, that enables a transaction to be performed by way of electronic notification of the essential elements of the cheque.
The amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act corrects an omission in the original bill by providing for the mental element of the offence of engaging in money laundering for terrorist purposes.
Another amendment introduces an alternative to forfeiture where forfeiture of property seized from terrorist activities is not possible.