By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Bahamas was listed among major international money laundering jurisdictions in 2018, a newly released United States Department of State report said, highlighting sources of laundered proceeds included firearms trafficking, human smuggling and tax fraud.
At the time the report was compiled, the US noted the country did not maintain official records of company beneficial ownership or require resident paying agents to tell domestic tax authorities about payments to non-residents.
The report recommended demonstrating risk-based supervision of non-bank financial institutions and ensuring timely access to adequate beneficial ownership information by addressing the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism regime.
It was also suggested that the quality of financial intelligence unit products be increased to better assist law enforcement to investigate and prosecute all types of money laundering.
The findings were detailed in the March 2019 Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs – International Narcotics Control Strategy Report Volume 2 on Money Laundering.
Countries listed alongside The Bahamas included Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica and China among several others.
A separate report focusing on drugs and chemical control contained a memorandum from President Donald Trump to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that listed this country among those considered major illicit drug transit or drug producing countries for the 2019 fiscal year.
“The Bahamas’ proximity to Florida makes the country a transit point for drugs heading to the United States,” the report said.
“Proceeds from facilitating drug transit, particularly bulk cash payments to local individuals and criminal gangs, are a key concern. Other sources of laundered proceeds include firearms trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, and fraudulent commercial transactions, including tax fraud.
“The Bahamas is an international business and financial centre with an open economy. The high volume of large, cross-border asset transactions enhances the risk of money laundering through private banks, trust services, insurance companies, and corporate service providers. Other money laundering methodologies may include purchase of real estate and precious metals and stones.
“Current information on the extent of offshore activities is not available. At year end 2014, total assets of the banking industry were US $279.2b, approximately 44 times the country’s GDP, with 96 percent of assets in the offshore sector. There are 67 investment fund administrators holding US $134.6b under administration and 849 investment funds. Additionally, there were 105 private trust companies, 310 financial corporate service providers, 694 registered foundations and 173,907 registered International Business Companies. IBCs can be formed in one to two days.
“The Bahamas does not maintain official records of company beneficial ownership, or require resident paying agents to tell the domestic tax authorities about payments to non-residents.”
However, note was made in the report of The Bahamas passing an enhanced Financial Transactions Reporting Act strengthening know your customer rules, suspicious transaction report procedures, risk assessment obligations for financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions and customer due diligence regarding beneficial owners and politically exposed persons.
In addition, the report said an enhanced Proceeds of Crime Act introduced unexplained wealth orders and non-conviction-based forfeiture, while a comprehensive anti-terrorism act addresses terrorist financing and proliferation.
The separate report on drugs said the country remained a significant transshipment point for illicit drugs bound for the US and other countries.
“Traffickers blend in among numerous pleasure craft moving between Florida and The Bahamas. Trafficking also occurs through commercial freighters and commercial and private planes,” the second report said. “Trafficking enables and strengthens transnational criminal organisations and gang activity.”
It also said: “In 2018, these operations resulted in numerous arrests and the seizure of cocaine and marijuana.
“Demand for cocaine within the country remains low, though a small domestic market does exist. Use of marijuana, including among adolescents, remains a concern.”
It mentioned that the government was reviewing a 2018 CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana report that recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug and its reclassification as a controlled substance; however, the government has not proposed any associated policy changes.
The report further highlighted that efforts between The Bahamas and US law enforcement during the first 10 months of 2018 led to 203 arrests and the seizure of approximately 176kg of cocaine, 5.66 metric tonnes of marijuana, $1,693,809 in currency and $43,400 in assets.
Joint operations also eradicated 2,520 cannabis plants – an amount similar to 2017 and an indication that cannabis cultivation remains steady.
US and local law enforcement investigations indicate that illicit trafficking through The Bahamas remained high. The total number of major operations increased significantly from the previous year due to increased levels of cooperation.
It said that throughout 2018, traffickers continued to split up larger loads into smaller loads before entering the southern Bahamas.
“Traffickers move cocaine through the Bahamas via ‘go-fast’ boats, small commercial freighters, maritime shipping containers, and small aircraft. Traffickers move cocaine from The Bahamas to Florida by blending in with legitimate traffic that transits these areas,” the second report noted.
Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 12 months ago
I guess Minnis's recent meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago didn't go so well after all. I'm not the least bit surprised. Minnis is not one to leave a favorable first impression, nor a lasting one for that matter. Right now the attacks are focused on our financial services sector. They will soon be turned towards our tourism sector. Can you feel the noose tightening Papa Doc Minnis?! LMAO
licks2 3 years, 12 months ago
Dumb as usual. . .CARRY YA LAZY TAIL AND RESEARCH HOW THE DIFFERENT ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT WORK. . .TRUMP CANNOT MEDDLE IN THE MANDATES OF THE VARIOUS ARMS OF GOVERNMENT. . .YOUR LIL BANANA REPUBLIC'S POTCAKE MEANS OF MEDDLING IN GOVERNMENT DON'T WORK IN THE BIG GLOBAL WORLD METHOD OF COMMON SENSE GOVERNANCE!!
I keep telling you to go and find something else to do. . .YOU SUCK AT POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT. . .AT COMMON SENSE MOST OF THE TIMES TOO. . .ANNOYING LIKE FINGER NAIL ON CHALK BOARD. . .GIVE IT A REST DUDE!!
tell_it_like_it_is 3 years, 12 months ago
Right, that Trump meeting was truly successful! ROFL
No wonder the other Caribbean leaders were laughing at us.
So naive to believe anything Trump said. 45 does it again!
licks2 3 years, 12 months ago
Carry ya tail too and do ya research. . .stop being so dang naive and myopic like a banana republic yard chicken who do know a thing!!
They laughing at we. . .but who making their countries "shit holes" by their stupid pea brained fighting against America. The Bahamas took a adult stance in the Venezuela "teif" of government by Merduro. Them foolish CARICOM members wants to vote in favor of a president who "did not allow any party to oppose him in a national election. . .yet declares himself President! Them countries invited by Trump were the ones who voted against Merduro sham election! Them other ninnies are rowing the four for not voting with them as a bloc to allow Merduro to keep his presidency!!
So before ya go and talk nonsense. . .go do ya researcher and think for ya sef!!
bogart 3 years, 12 months ago
See Tribune Banks told: 'Be Sympathetic' ......works permits expired....Thursday May 17, 2018 .........o da effect how can da banks conduct business wid account holder if the permit papers certifying monies....by havin no legal earning status papers.... to put money do transactions...????...yearly permits...???...even recent work permit holders even owe gubbermint millions dollars not havent yet paid Work Permit fees....are dey not working earning no legal income.meantime.......??seconds funds enters account...seconds can be transferred....reused... Who validates who stuffs da business wallet bag deposited in da bank wallet drop....WHO validates da persom depositing cash frequent...pattern..??..deposits through ATM machine...SWEAR AN LIKELY SWEAR IF DA ATM MACHING START ASKING DEPOSITOR QUESTIONS.....Criminals by now aint dat dumb to know dey can deposit a bag of money like dat....?.4999....over.....9,999..over...!!.....LIKELY...criminals by now odder crooked methods....even though one case wid one employee charged seems to have found out from the employer side first then afterwards...seens den banks seem caught on more money deposided more than salary......!!!!....big question still begs is where is the cash fer huge amounts of drugs caught...where are da cash transaction for all dese illegal human smuggling..boatloads at what $2,500 ??...per human trafficketed person...???...cash....credit card...????....where da necessary food clothing transactions fer some 50,000 illegal migrants..network ??...empty boat left on beach...network ???...do dey use cowrie shells...glass beads....barter...???
joeblow 3 years, 12 months ago
I can only wonder why the US was not on that list right next to Russia.
ThisIsOurs 3 years, 12 months ago
Cuz they makes the rules. You can't go to your job and ask the boss how he don't have to take out the garbage too...
And that's why WTO is completely wrong headed. The benefits sighted can be accomplished without putting us under the thumb of another master
licks2 3 years, 12 months ago
That is because the rest of the world don't do fool like some of you do!! Grow the hell up. . .geo-politically that is. . . GO READ BEYOND YINNA LIL CHICKEN-IN-THE BAG THINKING! Yinna acting like yall scared of the "big world". . .peeping outta yinna window curtain at what is going on in the street. . .talking "inside the house" information as input in the big wide world out in the streets!! "You're acting like a baby". . .the alien told the explorer in the movie Avatar. . .he was splashing, tripping and sliding all over the place and making noise that upset all good order with his loud, coarse and ignorant behaviour .
TheMadHatter 3 years, 12 months ago
As always ... tons of money laundering going on ... but no money launderers ever caught. It must be the safest criminal enterprise to enter into.
I hope my kids grow up to be money launderers and live the good life. Not only will they be rich, but they can laugh at all the "little people" filling out stacks of paperwork to keep their little flimsy savings accounts open. Passport, NIB, voters card, drivers license, utility bill, fill out the forms, ha ha ha ha - meanwhile money launderers just keep doing their thing. Never touched by the law.
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