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New UK Police & Crime Bill could affect VI Offshore Financial Sector

- the Bill has been extended to the British Overseas Territories & deals with Financial Sanctions
The Virgin Islands has one of the best regulated financial services industries and is not expected to be too troubled with the recently passed Policing & Crime Act (Financial Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2017. Photo: Internet Source
Former Permanent Secretary and Businessman, Julian Willock (right) does not believe the Policing and Crime Act 2017 passed in the United Kingdom House of Commons or the British Parliament (left) on October 11, 2017 will have significant impact on the ‘private, voluntary or public sectors in the Virgin Islands (VI). Photo: VINO/Internet Source
Former Permanent Secretary and Businessman, Julian Willock (right) does not believe the Policing and Crime Act 2017 passed in the United Kingdom House of Commons or the British Parliament (left) on October 11, 2017 will have significant impact on the ‘private, voluntary or public sectors in the Virgin Islands (VI). Photo: VINO/Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- While the Virgin Islands might be preoccupied with the rebuilding efforts after two powerful Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, destroyed the Territory, a new Bill seems to have slipped the eye of local government.

It was on October 11, 2017 that the United Kingdom House of Commons or the British Parliament passed 'The Policing & Crime Act (Financial Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2017'.  

The Order was primarily created to extend the powers afforded by Part 8 (Financial Sanctions) of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, to the British Overseas Territories which includes the Virgin Islands (VI).

What's in the Act?

Part 8 of the Act seeks to strengthen the enforcement regime for financial sanctions by increasing the maximum custodial sentence on conviction for breaching sanctions, expanding the range of enforcement options, including a new system of monetary penalties, and by providing for the immediate implementation of United Nations mandated sanctions.

EU financial sanctions Regulation and UN financial sanctions Resolution are resolutions passed by the European Union and the Security Council of the United Nations respectively to take measures that— 

  1. impose prohibitions or obligations for one or more of the following purposes—

 i.freezing funds or economic resources;

ii.preventing funds or economic resources being made available;

iii.prohibiting or restricting access to financial markets or financial services; 

  1. make provision to supplement prohibitions or obligations of the kind mentioned in paragraph (a).

What does this mean for the VI?

Under the Act, when a UN Security Council Resolution is passed that designates a person or entity as being subject to financial sanctions, that designation can take effect automatically in the Virgin Islands i.e. would be read as if incorporated under the laws of the VI.

The Act via a temporary resolution may confer a power on the Governor, in relation to any function of granting, varying or revoking a licence to do something that would otherwise be prohibited by the Temporary Regulations; however, the Governor may not exercise that function without the consent of the Secretary of State in each case.

The temporary resolution may also confer a power on the Governor to impose a monetary penalty and where the Governor receives a monetary penalty, it is to be paid into the Consolidated Fund for the Territory or, where no such fund exists, into an equivalent public fund.

The maximum penalty on summary conviction is to be read as if a person guilty of an offence under any Temporary Regulations is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or a fine not exceeding £5,000 or its equivalent, or both according to the new law.

Impact on VI Financial Industry- Willock speaks

In an invited comment, former Permanent Secretary and Businessman Julian Willock, who often speaks to the international press on the offshore financial sector when asked about the impact, responded "it is too early to say". Mr Willock said firstly, "I am not a lawyer so I am only sharing my opinion from what I read and understand."

The political aspirant said "if you look at recent UN sanctions passed against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the UN has imposed sanctions on money transfers and aimed to shut North Korea out of the international financial system," however, this was after repeated nuclear testing.

Now with our open financial sector registry, any person who sets up an offshore account in the Virgin Islands that the UN or UK deems undesirable, "we can face as a country sanctions." However knowing our vigorous due diligence regime "I foresee no immediate significant impact on the private, voluntary or public sectors in the VI," Mr Willock told our newsroom. 

Some parts of the new UK Policing & Crime Act (Financial Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2017 did not take effect until November 2, 2017.

See link to information on the [UK] Policing and Crime Act 2017:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/984/contents/made

12 Responses to “New UK Police & Crime Bill could affect VI Offshore Financial Sector”

  • ... (15/11/2017, 13:50) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thanks willock
  • Not2Sure (15/11/2017, 14:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    They coming at our financial services sector through THE backdoor
  • fsc (15/11/2017, 15:31) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    Why are we not hearing from the FSC on this matter? And why has VINO not interviewed relevant persons like Mr. Mathavious and Mr. Baker from the Commission ?
  • just asking.... (15/11/2017, 18:19) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    Since when the esteem became an expert on this industry?
    • @ just asking (15/11/2017, 19:52) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      haters will always hate thank god for him as after the Panama papers he save the BVI's reputation now go smoke that!
    • Truth (15/11/2017, 22:06) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      For those uncomfortable with Mr. Willock he will be in the HOA next time around
  • wize up (15/11/2017, 21:27) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    leadership matters
  • Just Woke (16/11/2017, 06:52) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    When we get back on our feet independent should be our first priority. Britain objective is to sink us into poverty...
    • Britain? (16/11/2017, 08:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      What about the local government they been sinking us into poverty since they took office
  • Longshanks (16/11/2017, 09:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The esteemed one does some good work, but as he readily admits is not a lawyer or particularly expert on this.

    The UK already has the power to extend sanctions orders to the BVI, and does so (eg with certain Russian entities subject to sanctions). This is not sanctioning the BVI, but meaning that the BVI cannot facilitate or enter into specified activities or transactions with those entities. Most commonly this affects BVI companies which might be doing business with such people. However, this is a good thing, as the BVI does not want to be seen as a place where you could get around internationally agreed sanctions.
  • Local (16/11/2017, 14:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This will have no direct affect on the BVI unless the trust companies, banks or or BVI regulated entities chose to do business with individuals or businesses subject to EU or European Community sanctions. The regime is already in place in the BVI and all of the regulated entities already have their systems in place to monitor international sanctions against places lik North Korea etc. This only strengthens the BVI regulatory regime.


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