The Financial Intelligence Unit (the “FIU”) from its inception has been an integral component in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation. The FIU’s mandate is derived from Section 4 of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, enacted in 2000, which stipulates that the agency’s core responsibilities are to receive, analyse, obtain and disseminate information as it relates to or may relate to money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation and other offences as specified in various legislation of The Bahamas.
Subsequent to the introduction of these legislation, enacted to assist in the global fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation, financial institutions are now subject to strict reporting and recordkeeping requirements. The FIU Act, as a result, gave the FIU the authority to receive information that can be utilised in analysing suspicious transaction reports (STRs) that are received from financial institutions, outlining incidences of suspected money laundering, terrorist financing or proliferation transactions. In the furtherance of combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation, the FIU has the power to order the suspension of a transaction or freeze an individual’s account, where there is a suspicion that the transaction or the funds in the account are related to proceeds of criminal conduct, money laundering, terrorist financing or proliferation.
Institutions that are considered financial institutions have a duty to report suspicious transactions, and also have an obligation to produce information that the FIU deems necessary in carrying out its mandate.
Combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation is more than a national fight, but an international one, which requires a reciprocal relationship with other FIUs. The Bahamas is committed to corresponding, cooperating and assisting foreign FIUs in succeeding in this global fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation.