5 Mar 2003

IMF team to visit Cooks Islands over progress against money laundering

5:19 pm on 5 March 2003

A team from the International Monetary Fund is to visit the Cook Islands this month in order to assess its progress to date on work to get off a money laundering blacklist.

The Cook Islands Offshore Banking Commissioner, Matilda Uhrle, says a raft of new bills have been drafted which will go before parliament and supercede their Money Laundering Prevention act.

She says this has been one of the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force, the FATF, which originally compiled the blacklist.

Ms Uhrle says they've been working hard for the past few years to comply with all of the FATF demands and the IMF visit is significant.

"It is a tremendous breakthrough, because it also sends a positive message to the Financial Action Task Force, that we are actively and effectively participating with the IMF at all levels of technical assistance and assessment programmes."

Both organisations have been sent draft copies of the bills and the five member IMF mission will help determine what action plan the country will then need to meet any further requirements.

Work is also continuing on a terrorism suppression bill and establishing in statute the Money Laundering Authority.