Seychelles passes new legislation against money laundering, financing terrorism
President Faure assented to the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Act 2020, and the Beneficial Ownership Act 2020, on Thursday. (Joena Meme)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is intensifying its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism after passing and signing new legislation this week.
President Danny Faure assented to the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Act 2020, and the Beneficial Ownership Act 2020, in a ceremony at State House, Victoria, on Thursday.
The bills were passed by the Seychelles' National Assembly on Wednesday.
"The main aim is to address weaknesses that have been identified within our legal framework in regards to measures against money laundering and the implementations of measures to protect our financial sector from abuse by criminals who wish to hide their ill-obtained assets," said Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the finance minister.
The Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) will take on an administrative role where it will receive, analyse and disseminate reports on suspicious transactions. The unit will also keep information about companies' beneficiaries, information that will only be made available to law enforcement authorities and other competent authorities.
Investigation of financial crimes will become the responsibility of the Seychelles Police Force through its financial crime investigation unit.
An asset recovery fund will also be established in which money confiscated from financial crimes are to be debited. The fund is expected to finance public projects, assist victims of money laundering and financial terrorism, as well as cover expenses for recovery, management and disposal of properties.
The Secretary of State for Finance, Trade and Investment, Patrick Payet, said that there will be a need to do capacity building to support the police force's financial crime unit.
He said that the ministry will start an awareness programme on the details of the new laws on the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financial of Terrorism and Beneficial Ownership.
"There are a lot of new elements, especially on the domestic side in the Beneficial Ownership Act. Proper awareness and communication are needed for people to be aware of the contents of the law," said Payet.
He added that "there are provisions within the law that we will start implementing as of January 2021, however, we need to prepare the structure, there are other regulations that will be put in place."
According to State House, "the President said that the passage of the two bills by the National Assembly underlined Seychelles' determination to adhere to the principles of good governance, transparency and accountability in the domestic as well as off-shore financial sectors."
"The introduction of these new laws should enhance Seychelles' reputation as a serious and reliable international financial service provider," State House added.