Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is an offshore center which continues to be vulnerable to money laundering and other financial crimes. Its relatively large financial sector and internet gaming industry add to its susceptibility. According to the Antiguan Office of National Drug Control and Money Laundering Policy (AONDCP), the collaborative efforts between Antigua and Barbuda and United States law enforcement agencies have brought about a decrease in drug trafficking activity.
Although the number of internet gaming companies is in decline, according to AONDCP statistics, casinos and internet gaming maintain a strong presence in Antigua and Barbuda. Internet gaming companies are regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, and supervised for AML/CFT by the AONDCP. Regulation requires them to incorporate as international business corporations (IBCs) and maintain a physical presence on the island. Domestic casinos must incorporate as domestic corporations. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda receives millions of dollars per year from license fees and other charges related to the internet gaming industry.
Shell companies are not permitted in Antigua and Barbuda. All certified institutions are required to have a physical presence, which means presence of at least a full-time senior officer and availability of all files and records. International companies are authorized to possess bearer shares; however, the license application requires disclosure of the names and addresses of directors (who must be natural persons), the activities the corporation intends to conduct, the names of shareholders, and number of shares they will hold. Registered agents or service providers are compelled by law to know the names of beneficial owners. Failure to provide information or giving false information is punishable by a fine of $50,000. Offshore financial institutions are exempt from corporate income tax.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) supervises Antigua and Barbuda’s domestic banking sector, along with the domestic sectors of seven other Caribbean jurisdictions.
For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: //2009-2017.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/
Do FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONs engage in currency transactions related to international narcotics trafficking that include significant amounts of US currency; currency derived from illegal sales in the U.S.; or illegal drug sales that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: YES
criminalizATION OF money laundering:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES
Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES
KYC covered entities: Banks, international offshore banking businesses, venture risk capital, and money transmission services; entities issuing and administering means of payment (e.g., credit cards, traveler’s checks, and banker’s drafts); those offering guarantees and commitments, or trading for customers involved in money market instruments, foreign exchange, financial and commodities-based derivative instruments, or transferable or negotiable instruments; money brokers and exchanges, money lenders, and pawn shops; real property businesses; credit unions, building societies, and trust businesses; dealers in precious metals, art, jewelry, and high-value goods; casinos and providers of Internet gaming and sports betting; car dealerships; travel agents; company service providers, attorneys, notaries, and accountants
Number of STRs received and time frame: 272: January 1 – November 1, 2015
Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not applicable
STR covered entities: Banks, international offshore banking businesses, venture risk capital, and money transmission services; entities issuing and administering means of payment (e.g., credit cards, traveler’s checks, and banker’s drafts); those offering guarantees and commitments, or trading for customers involved in money market instruments, foreign exchange, financial and commodities-based derivative instruments, or transferable or negotiable instruments; money brokers and exchanges, money lenders, and pawn shops; real property businesses; credit unions, building societies, and trust businesses; dealers in precious metals, art, jewelry, and high-value goods; casinos and providers of Internet gaming and sports betting; car dealerships; travel agents; company service providers, attorneys, notaries, and accountants
money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:
Prosecutions: 3 in 2015
Convictions: 1 in 2015
Records exchange mechanism:
With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: YES
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES
Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at:
Enforcement and IMPementation issues and comments:
Antigua and Barbuda continues to work to improve its AML/CFT regime. The AONDCP’s 2014 analysis shows that financial institutions in Antigua and Barbuda have improved their AML/CFT policies and customer due diligence procedures. In 2014, AONDCP’s Financial Investigations Department was involved in 14 new cases, both criminal and civil. In 2015, with the assistance of an international donor, AONDCP spearheaded a national risk assessment of the country’s vulnerabilities to money laundering and terrorist financing.
In October, 2015, Antigua and Barbuda recorded its first successful confiscation case under the Proceeds of Crime Act. As part of a joint operation with the ABDF Coast Guard, the AONDCP first arrested two persons aboard a sailing vessel from Tortola in 2011 with over 160 kilograms of cocaine. The court ordered the defendant to pay $30,000 to the State. From the evidence provided, the court determined the defendant possessed assets which could be used to settle the confiscation order.
In 2015, the AONDCP successfully defended a constitutional motion before the Eastern Caribbean High Court by securing a ruling determining the provisions for civil forfeiture under the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act do not contravene the Constitution. Ahmed Williams was convicted of possession with intent to supply and possession with intent to sell after he was arrested while conducting a drug transaction. AONDCP and Police officers found him in possession of 3.3 kilograms of cocaine, US$16,446 and EC$41,965. Following the criminal case, two parcels of land owned by Williams were frozen by the Supervisory Authority and ultimately forfeited to the government. This case has created a legal precedent for civil forfeiture proceedings in the region, and the court’s decision reinforces the principle that the provisions for civil forfeiture do not contravene the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda should continue to work to implement its AML/CFT action plan, and devote resources to money laundering investigations and enforcement.