Seychelles on Friday launched its 2020-23 strategy to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism activities.
(Seychelles News Agency) - Minister of Finance, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne said the strategy adds to efforts already underway to address the deficiencies in the current system when dealing with anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism activities in Seychelles.
“Seychelles, although geographically isolated, is as vulnerable to threats as any jurisdiction. The impact list is quite extensive, ranging from increased costs for business when dealing with international partners, correspondent banking challenges for banks, to the broader problem of reputational damage for the country,” Loustau-Lalanne said.
The strategy was launched in a special ceremony held at the Seychelles Trading Company (STC) conference room in the capital of Victoria.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Strategy should be fully implemented by the end of 2022.
Loustau Lalanne said that similar to other countries, the island nation is expected to dedicate efforts to have more robust and more effective policies and frameworks to mitigate the associated threats.
“Having robust policies and measures in place requires us to know our exposure to such risks, and this has been highlighted in the country’s recent assessments against international standards,” said the minister.
He added that taking “these steps, Seychelles is showcasing its commitment to adhere to international standards and address deficiencies highlighted by international bodies and jurisdictions in recent times.”
The Secretary of State for Finance, Patrick Payet, said that before coming up with a national strategy, a risk assessment was conducted to find out the existing deficiencies in the system.
“From then we needed to come up with a strategy to correct these deficiencies. We have found laws that needed to be amended and new ones that have to be proposed,” said Payet.
Payet explained “the strategy will also help us to build our internal capacity to deal with anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism activities. We are working closely with the private and public sector.
“Both sectors need to better understand the situation. For example, nowadays there are a lot of scams. If businesses are not careful and know about those scams, they will be easily affected,” added Payet.
In Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean — the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) has the administrative role where it receives, analyses and disseminates reports on suspicious transactions. The unit is also tasked to keep information about companies' beneficiaries, information that will only be made available to law enforcement authorities and other competent authorities.
The investigation of financial crimes is the responsibility of the Seychelles’ Police through its financial crime investigation unit.