The Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association has been advised that it would be unconstitutional for the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) to inspect the client records of lawyers, as it plans to do.
The advice from Kittian Queen’s Counsel Delano Bart, came months after the law enforcement agency announced plans to clamp down on money laundering.
In May, the Bar Association informed its members that the ONDCP had advised that it would shortly begin examining law offices to ensure those conducting financial activity as a business, are conforming to Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism regulations.
Following the announcement, the Bar Association sought the legal opinion.
Bart submitted a report to the Bar Association that called its members to a meeting on July 27 to discuss the document. Fewer than 10 lawyers were reportedly in attendance.
Our newsroom was recently informed that Bart is of the opinion that ONDCP’s inspections would be unlawful and advised the Bar Association to address the matter.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)