Finance specialist says A&B continues to be scrutinised

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Anti-money laundering and anti-fraud expert, Kem Warner said the current stringent requirements to conduct business at financial institutions in Antigua & Barbuda are due to a tradition of less demanding regulations in the country years ago.
Warner, who has over 19 years in the field, is the Chief Executive Officer of KAW Management Services Limited. Speaking ahead of an anti-financial crimes conference to be held on July 9-11, Warner said despite the changes made to laws to adopt internationally recognized financial standards, Antigua continues to be scrutinized.
“We could say that we are being picked on by larger countries but some of the initiatives and perceptions that are being placed upon us is by virtue of some of the things that had happened, sometimes many years ago in terms of Caribbean jurisdiction and issues pertaining to the lack of regulation, corruption and fraud,” he said.
He pointed to an example of opening a bank account locally, versus conducting business in the United States of America. Warner said it can take up to two weeks to open an account here.
Warner said the country must continue to meet internationally acceptable requirements if it to maintain corresponding banking relationships while scoring high on the cooperative countries scale and keeping its risk assessment down.
Retired FBI agent, Dennis Lormel who will be the feature speaker at the conference said Antigua & Barbuda will continue to face scrutiny following the biggest Brazilian scandal in which Meinl Bank Antigua Limited was embroiled.
Lormel said laws create challenges for the anti-money laundering and anti-fraud sector.
“The view, particularly from the US perspective, is of the Caribbean as a problem area and more of a haven for money laundering, cases like [Meinl] will reinforce that type of mindset and that’s unfortunate because my dealings with folks like Kem … there has been a lot of good efforts of strengthening programmes,” Lormel said.
Noting there are ways to recover from the negative fall-out, Lormel said the Caribbean has been making positive efforts by enacting policies in keeping with internationally accepted modes of doing business.

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