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Sanctions letters for 11 registered agents

Attorney General Carl Bethel. (File photo)

Attorney General Carl Bethel. (File photo)

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The government has issued sanctions warnings to 11 financial services providers for failing to supply beneficial ownership details on corporate entities they act for, the attorney general revealed yesterday.

Carl Bethel QC, pictured, in his contribution to the Senate budget debate, said similar warning letters had been issued to ten companies who do not have registered agents in a bid to bring them into compliance with the Register of Beneficial Ownership Act.

“As of September 15, 2019, one hundred of the largest registered agents for companies and exempted limited liability partnerships were onboarded into The Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (BOSS),” Mr Bethel said.

“Phases one through four have now been completed at the end of May 2021, with 167 small and medium-sized registered agents being onboarded. To-date we have 43,687 entities entered into the BOSS with 45,813 beneficial ownership entries.

“We have issued sanction letters to 11 registered agents, and ten to companies without registered agents, that are in non-compliance with the Register of Beneficial Ownership Act provisions.”

This Act mandates that beneficial ownership on all Bahamas-based corporate entities be held in one secure location, where it can only be accessed by registered agents, financial services regulators and law enforcement authorities.

Mr Bethel did not identify which registered agents had received sanctions letters, but those acting in such a capacity vary from major banks and trust companies to law firms, accountants and other corporate and financial services providers.

Elsewhere, Mr Bethel said The Bahamas had applied on May 21, 2017, to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), regional affiliate of the global standard-setter on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, for a re-rating of ten benchmarks on which it had been found partially compliant in 2017. 

“The first was submitted in May 2018, and the country was successful in securing favourable re-ratings of ‘largely compliant’ and ‘compliant’ for 12 recommendations previously scored ‘partially compliant,” Mr Bethel said.

“It is expected that this current application will again be successful in gaining favourable ratings, improving the country’s current score of 30 ‘compliant’ and ‘largely compliant’ ratings.”

The attorney general also pledged to “vigorously pursue” The Bahamas’ delisting from the European Union’s (EU) anti-money laundering blacklist, along with upgrading this nation’s relevant laws and inspection programmes.

He added that this “will positively impact the revival in the financial and non-bank financial sectors, as being delisted from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ‘grey list’ followed by being delisted from the EU anti-money laundering blacklist, will make the jurisdiction more attractive to maintaining the financial centre business it has already and attracting new business as the ease of doing business in The Bahamas will improve. This will positively impact employment and result in Government tax collection”.

As for the registration of non-profit entities, Mr Bethel said: “The Office of the Attorney General’s compliance Unit, established in March 2020, in conjunction with the Registrar General’s Department, has taken aggressive steps to register the 1,200 plus non-profits in the first quarter of 2021.

“To-date some 700 non-profits have been registered. More than 150 of the non-profits have been risk assessed for terrorist financing with an exercise ongoing to complete the assessments of the remaining 550.”

Comments

tribanon 2 years, 9 months ago

Carl Bethel said: “We have issued sanction letters to 11 registered agents, and ten to companies without registered agents, that are in non-compliance with the Register of Beneficial Ownership Act provisions.”

Sounds more like a shake down for election campaign contributions. lol

If Carl Bethel was the least bit serious about clamping down on these non-compliant registered agents and companies, he would have published a public notice naming them and giving a stipulated time period within which they must become compliant or face charges under the relevant statutes.

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C2B 2 years, 9 months ago

Who is going to help Putin and gang rob the Russian people? Who will help corrupt Chinese government officials funnel money out of China? What about the Venezuelans who are cleaning out the wealth of that Nation? There must be some place where white collar criminals and their lawyers and accountants can thrive.

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tribanon 2 years, 9 months ago

LLCs in Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada have been the flavour of choice for most PEPs for the better part of two decades now. lol

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