Kevin Davis, director of the Economic and Financial Crime Bureau in Guernsey, is working on acquiring greater powers to seize illegally acquired cash and property.
His newly formed agency will use all legal remedies at its disposal as it tackles financial criminals, he said.
“From the bureau’s perspective, it’s not just dealing with criminal investigations. We will be looking at civil remedies – particularly around cash seizure and the seizure and forfeiture of criminal property. That’s a really important aspect,” he was quoted as saying by the Guernsey Press newspaper.
“I’m working with law officer colleagues to actually strengthen the legislation around that to expand powers about what can be seized and liable to forfeiture from a civil perspective.”
A major international financial centre, Guernsey receives many requests from other jurisdictions saying they have investigated something, seen a large pot of laundered money going into a financial institution in Guernsey and asking if something can be done about it, he said.
“There’s a lot of money here where it’s plain from the work of other jurisdictions that we need to take action – and the most expedient way of doing that is using civil remedies that are available.”
Davis, who was chief investigator at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, said: “So the bureau will look to freezing, for example, the assets that are held here.”
He also commented: “I must stress as well that very often the institutions have unwittingly received monies. And it’s no slight on the institutions themselves.”
In a direct message to financial criminals, he said: “We don’t want your money … We’re going to take it from you and we’re going to prosecute you where the evidence allows us to … and use all the legal remedies at our disposal.”
Guernsey’s government set up the independent bureau in mid-June to investigate money laundering and economic crime, take enforcement action and recover proceeds from unlawful conduct.
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