A series of meetings last week marked the completion of the first year of an ongoing dialogue between the United Kingdom and the overseas territories on fighting financial crime, according to Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

The UK-OT Illicit Finance Dialogue, which was established last year by the Joint Ministerial Council, brought together the OTs and UK government departments including His Majesty’s Treasury, the National Crime Agency, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The objective of the dialogue — which was co-chaired by the Virgin Islands and the UK for the past year — is to agree to measures to combat illicit finance, according to government.

“Financial crime is a scourge across the global financial system as various players with ill intent target our services for their own illegitimate ends,” Ms. Smith said Friday. “The overseas territories and the UK are no exception. But we also know that the more we work together, the better we are able to defend against these attacks.”

She added that all the OTs have been “fully engaged” in the ongoing dialogue.

“Yesterday’s ministerial level dialogue, which I co-hosted with FCDO Minister David Rutley, was very productive, and I look forward to the continuation of this engagement between the UK and ourselves,” Ms. Smith said.

Topics discussed

The discussions over the past year have focused on topics including sanctions, law enforcement collaboration, beneficial ownership, and international regulations on illicit finance, according to government.

Attendees agreed that sanctions units will be established in the VI, the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.

To ensure that law enforcers stay abreast of trends in financial services, OT authorities will also attend training by the UK’s National Crime Agency on cryptocurrencies, government stated.

Meanwhile, the UK-OT technical working group plans to continue working on beneficial ownership as part of efforts to meet the requirements of global standard setters including the Financial Action Task Force.


Besides Ms. Smith, last week’s dialogue was attended by government leaders from Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands and St. Helena as well as Mr. Rutley and Baroness Vere of Norbiton, parliamentary undersecretary at HM Treasury.

“The overseas territories and the UK are determined to fight financial crime in whatever form it comes,” Ms. Smith said. “I am confident that this unified approach will strengthen our deterrent as well as our position in the global financial system.”

She added that the Cayman Islands government will now take over as co-chair of the dialogue.