The ease, flexibility and confidentiality of investment in offshore territories has increased the risk of exposure of these jurisdictions to tax evasion and money laundering. Ultimately this will adversely affect all bona fide investors. There are a number of mechanisms in place to assist the international community in the investigation and prosecution of crime.
The BVI has two pieces of legislation – the Mutual Legal Assistance (United States of America) Act and the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act 1997. Similar legislation has also been enacted in the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. This legislation creates money laundering offences which range from assisting in the retention of the benefit of criminal conduct to the acquisition, possession or use of proceeds of criminal conduct and concealing or transferring such proceeds.
The underlying goal of the legislation is reciprocity between judicial and law enforcement agencies worldwide in an effort to curb the increasing level of illegal transactions that aim to legitimize criminal proceeds. Service providers are subject to the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering Code of Practice, which requires service providers to identify their clients and verify the information obtained.
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