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Published 25th May 2005, 1:50pm

26 May 2005 - Washington, D.C. - The Cayman Islands cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice on two criminal investigations - including one that began more than seven years ago - culminated in a special meeting today between senior Cayman and U.S. officials in Washington, D.C.

Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie and Attorney General Samuel Bulgin met with U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and other officials at the U.S. Department of Justice to exchange funds stemming from the asset-sharing agreement as part of Cayman's Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the U.S.

The Cayman delegation received just over US$1.7 million, the result of the successful prosecution of the two fraud cases. For the second case, the Cayman Islands in return presented the U.S. government with US$675,000, to be used as restitution for the victims of that fraud, which was been successfully prosecuted and the proceeds confiscated.

"Our relationship with the U.S. and our moral obligations as a member of the global community to assist in the efforts to combat the scourge of organised crime and money laundering are of the highest importance to the Cayman Islands," said Chief Justice Smellie. He also expressed Cayman's appreciation to several members of the Office of International Affairs and commended the strong working relationship that has developed between the two governments.

Attorney General Bulgin made the following remarks. "The occasion here today is indeed a reaffirmation of the long history of cooperation between the U.S. and the Cayman Islands - with able guidance from the U.K. - in the fight against criminal activities. It is an unequivocal pledge of the Cayman Islands to continue to cooperate with other countries, including the U.S. , in not only prosecuting the perpetrators, but in confiscating their proceeds of crime."

Since the MLAT's introduction in 1990, in excess of US$10 million, arising from some 230 cases in which the two governments have cooperated, has been shared with the Cayman Islands. Several million dollars have also been returned to the United States for the restitution of victims of fraud and other cases.

The Cayman Islands has an agreement with the U.S. to share any proceeds from cases in which the two governments cooperated which are not to be returned, for various reasons, to victims, shareholders or creditors. The MLAT encourages use of funds for local drug rehabilitation, law enforcement and justice administration programmes.

The Cayman Islands was the first regionally, and among the first worldwide, to criminalise the laundering of the proceeds of all serious crimes, extending such legislation beyond the ambit of drug-money laundering. The legislation gives the courts of the Cayman Islands power to restrain and ultimately to forfeit the proceeds of drug trafficking and all other serious crime, including fraud and official corruption.

In 2003, the Cayman Islands passed a comprehensive piece of anti-terrorism legislation in addition to adopting, as part of its domestic law, United Nations Security Council resolutions dealing with the financing of terrorism.

The Cayman Islands Government has been continuously working both domestically and internationally to maintain a strong regulatory and compliance framework. Domestically, this includes adherence to the FATF international anti-money laundering standards and the Basel Committee, IOSCO and IAIS global standards in the regulation of financial services and updates to governing legislation.

Internationally, this includes bilateral mutual co-operation arrangements, such as MLAT with the U.S., and various regulatory co-operation arrangements maintained by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

The Monetary Authority Law (2003 Revision) vests CIMA with powers to make licensing, supervisory and enforcement decisions, and to co-operate with international regulatory authorities.

About the Cayman Islands Financial Services Industry

Building on more than 40 years of steady growth, the Cayman Islands today is recognised as a sophisticated, mature and diverse financial centre. Over the past 15 years in particular, the Cayman Islands has focused on two main objectives: building a world-class specialization of institutional business and developing strong international cooperation agreements with the U.S. and other countries. The Cayman Islands financial services industry encompasses banking, trust services, company services, mutual funds, insurance, vessel registration, capital markets products and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.

Note to Editors: Photos from the event are available upon request.

 

For more information, please contact the Financial Services Secretariat at (345) 945-5819 or via email at financepr@gov.ky.