Posted: Tuesday, October 5, 2021. 6:54 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Belize Financial Intelligence Unit (the FIU) says it is interested in instances of “extremely poor due diligence and oversight in the conducting of business by corporate service providers,” mentioned in the recently released Pandora Papers.
While no criminal wrongdoing has been alleged against any Belizean entity, the Unit has been working to combat money laundering crimes in association with the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC).
The FIU and NAMLC have, since 2015, conducted a national risk assessment to identify the country’s money laundering risks and vulnerabilities, implemented a national action plan to mitigate the risks identified, required corporate service providers to verify the identity of beneficial owners, directors, and shareholders and hold this information in Belize, which must be made available to authorities on-demand, and introduced economic substance requirements for Belize registered international business companies. This allowed us to clear the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s 3rd Round mutual evaluation process and begin preparing for the fourth due in 2023.
The warning from the Unit is that “any deficiency in diligence that would not rise to the current standards promulgated by the Financial Action Task Force (the FATF) would have been remedied by this time. Notwithstanding, should our investigations demonstrate otherwise, then effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions will be applied to all natural and legal persons and legal arrangements involved, including corporate service providers.”
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