Cook Islands anti-laundering regime one of the best

RARONGA, 30 OCTOBER 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – The Cook Islands Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime is officially one of the best in the world according to the Cook Islands Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).

The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering APG is a regional body of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing. The report has been published on the APG’s website.

The Cook Islands report was tabled and adopted at the group’s annual meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal in July this year The APG has 41 member countries from around the Asia/Pacific region and all were represented at the meeting

The Cook Islands’ mutual involved technical compliance with 40 FATF recommendations and an assessment of the effectiveness of the country’s AML/CFT regime when measured against the FATF’s expected 11 Immediate Outcomes.

The Cook Islands received 38 ratings of “largely compliant: and above, bettered by only one other country in the world. In terms of the implementation and effectiveness of its laws and systems when measured against the FATF’s 11 Immediate Outcomes, the Cook Islands attained five substantial ratings, four moderate ratings and two low ratings.

This resulted in this country being one of only two jurisdictions within the APG membership to be placed in the “regular” follow up process.

A Cook Islands Financial Services Development Authority spokesman said the evaluation process had been “long and arduous,” but ultimately worthwhile.

“It commenced in early 2017 and included an on-site evaluation in November 2017 of the Cook Islands’ AML/CFT regime.

“The on-site evaluation was undertaken by two representatives of the APG and six independent assessors appointed by the group, and lasted two weeks. It amounted to a comprehensive and intensive examination of the country’s AML/CFT laws, the effectiveness of its AML/CFT systems and whether the Cook Islands is meeting the FATF’s defined set of expected outcomes.

“The assessment team met with and interviewed members of all key government agencies and the private sector. Following the on-site evaluation, the Cook Islands, led by the deputy commissioner of the Financial Supervisory Commission, Cheryl McCarthy, was in constant contact with the assessment team in order to have the Cook Islands MER ready for presentation at the APG’s annual meeting in Kathmandu,” the spokesman said.

“This outstanding result for the Cook Islands has been achieved through the commitment and hard work of the Cook Islands government, its Crown agencies and the private sector. It is anticipated that the Cook Islands’ MER will be recognised internationally, whilst giving great comfort to governments, institutions and businesses alike when dealing with the Cook Islands and its financial services industry.

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