7 May 2003

Sweeping new financial controls on the way in the Cooks

4:54 pm on 7 May 2003

Sweeping new measures are being introduced in the Cook Islands over the regulation of the domestic and offshore financial industries.

Nine new bills were presented in parliament today after cabinet approved the work of the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing Terrorism committee, the AML/CFT.

Tepure Tepaitau, the chairman of the AML/CFT, says the bills will provide the country with a comprehensive legal framework to get them off an international money laundering blacklist.

Mr Tepaitau says he's hopeful the enactment of the legislation will satisfy the Financial Action Taskforce which included the Cook Islands on the blacklist.

"With them going before Parliament and having Parliament enact them, will put the Cook Islands back in line with some of the requirements that the Financial Action Taskforce wanted the country to undertake"

The new bills include a Financial Transactions Reporting Act which will require all banks to report local and international money transfers to a central financial intelligence unit.

The office of the Commissioner for Offshore Financial Services will be replaced with a new Financial Supervisory Commission, headed by a board of five which will supervise and regulate onshore and offshore banks.

And, the Cook Islands Crimes Act is to be amended so that offences related to organised crime and insider trading will be included.