Money laundering: Seychelles’ judiciary updated on criminal and civil asset recovery
Cryptocurrency, jewellery, art and the casino business are popular ways to launder money, said World Bank consultants at a four-day workshop in Seychelles for Supreme Court judges and the legal research team.
A press statement from the Judiciary said that the workshop, which was organised by the Central Bank of Seychelles in collaboration with the World Bank, focused on Seychelles’ laws on corruption, evidence and procedure applicable to trials for corruption offences.
The training from April 11-14 was led by Sir Anthony Hooper, former Lord Justice of the High Court of England and Wales, and Jeanne Hauch, a technical specialist, both consultants with the World Bank.
Participants received an overview of the national fight against corruption and the World Bank consultants highlighted that one of the main ways people launder money today is through cryptocurrency, although this is new to many regulatory bodies and that they should become more acquainted with this.
“Criminals move quickly, while bureaucracy moves very slowly,” said Hauch when explaining the importance for institutions to remain up to date on current criminal practices.
She said that other popular forms of money laundering continue to be purchasing expensive jewellery and art – which can be undervalued by the unknowing and inexperienced eye. Money laundering through the casino business is also popular.
In his opening statement, Chief Justice Rony Govinden stressed the importance of remaining up to date on current practices by those who evade the law, so judges may understand cases that come before them in court.
A senior market conduct analyst for the Central Bank, Beggita Vital, said that the training is part of the Anti-Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism Technical Assistance Programme.
One of the important components of the workshop is the unique role of the Judiciary in the process of criminal and civil asset recovery. National legislation and international conventions were examined along with tools that can be used to prevent dishonest people from evading the obligation to disclose and surrender the proceeds of corrupt conduct.
“This process also enables the participants of the workshop to consider amendments that could be made to their national laws, including regulations, laws of evidence, and rules of criminal procedure in order to improve asset recovery,” said the press statement.
The law on anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism activities in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has existed since 2006.
To ensure compliance with international norms, in March last year, amendments were made to six laws after the approval of the National Assembly. These are the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act; the Extradition Act; the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act; the Beneficial Ownership Act; the International Trust Act; and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.