The All Crimes Legislation forms part of an international drive (principally spearheaded by the US and the UK) to extend anti-money laundering measures to prevent criminals retaining benefits derived from their illicit activities.
Currently (in Guernsey) there are two areas where money-laundering activities are actively regulated by primary legislation.
First, under the Drug Trafficking offences (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 1998, it is an offence to assist known or suspected drug traffickers to retain the benefits of drug trafficking. There is a defence for anybody who may do so unwittingly provided they have disclosed their knowledge or position to the police.
Second, under the Money Laundering (Disclosure of Information) Guernsey Law 1995 facility is provided whereby any person, if they suspect money laundering is taking place, may make disclosure to the police without being open to an action for breech of their duty of confidentiality. There is no offence committed, however, if they fail to disclose.
The 1988 Drug Trafficking Law was based on the provisions of The Criminal Justice Act 1988 of the UK.
In 1993 the UK extended its regime to cover not just drug trafficking but potentially all indictable offences. In the same year the UK enacted the Money Laundering Regulations, which puts anyone conducting certain activities in the course of an investment business in the UK under a positive duty of disclosure where money laundering is suspected.
The proposal now is to introduce (effectively) equivalent provisions in Guernsey and also in all other offshore jurisdictions. The new law will contain investigatory, confiscatory and enforcement powers and will create specific new offences in connection with money laundering.
The law will also contain specific provisions concerning information disclosed as a result of knowledge or suspicion of money laundering and will prescribe the circumstances in and the purposes for which it may then be disclosed outside of the Island.
The effect of particular sections of the law will be to prevent any police officer (on pain of criminal penalty) to whom disclosure of information is made from making any onward disclosure of that information. The exceptions are:
i) to others in Guernsey for the purposes of criminal proceedings in Guernsey or
(ii) to bodies outside of Guernsey and then only if he has the consent of HM Attorney General to do so and only for the investigation of crimes outside of Guernsey or to a body approved by the Advisory and Finance Committee of the States of Guernsey for the receipt of such information.
At this time the draft All Crimes Money Laundering Legislation has not been finalised. The law is likely to be enacted during the course of this year and will be brought into force in stages concurrent with similar legislation in other offshore jurisdictions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
For further information please contact:
The Legis Group
PO Box 186
1 Le Marchant Street
St Peter Port
Tel No: 01481 726034
Fax No: 01481 726029
This article also appears in the 'International Offshore and Financial Centres Handbook 1999/2000'. For further information about this highly informative guide to offshore centres, or to order your copy, please phone +44 (0) 207 820 7733 or send an email to email@example.com