The Seychelles delegation. (Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade)
Seychelles has been upgraded on another five recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) showing further progress in strengthening measures to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade on Wednesday, the upgrade came after a delegation attended the 45th meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) Task Force of senior officials in Tanzania from March 26-31.
Seychelles has made progress in addressing deficiencies against recommendations 5,19, 25, 28 and 34. The recommendations relate to terrorist financing offence, higher-risk countries, transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons, regulation and supervision of designated non-financial business or professions, and guidance and feedback.
“Seychelles defended its third re-rating request report to address five deficiencies identified within the Second Mutual Evaluation Report adopted in September 2018,” said the press release.
“The upgrade has been a national effort, working closely with all stakeholders to ensure the necessary legislations were enacted on time for submission of our re-rating request,” said Secretary of State Patrick Payet, chair of the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee.
While thanking all parties for this collaboration, Payet said, “There are still further works to be done and the committee remains committed to addressing the other deficiencies.”
The AML/CFT committee will continue to address the remaining six technical compliance shortcomings for discussion in the ESAAMLG meeting in April 2024.
Currently, Seychelles is compliant or largely compliant with 34 of the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.
The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that sets international standards aimed at preventing these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
At the meeting, the ESAAMLG secretariat also briefed the delegates on the ongoing preparations for the third round of the Mutual Evaluations which will start in June 2025. The sequencing of countries will be discussed during the September 2023 meeting and will need to be completed within six years with a flexibility of seven years in justifiable circumstances.
Seychelles’ delegation took the opportunity during the task force meeting to build on the current bilateral and multilateral relationships with international partners and counterparts to increase the country’s efforts in the international fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Seychelles’ delegation also took part in sub-committees meetings.
At the ESAAMLG Financial Intelligence Unit forum, the deputy director of the Seychelles Financial Intelligence Unit, Debra Port-Louis, gave a presentation on a national risk assessment on virtual assets and virtual assets service providers done in the island nation.
The risk assessment report, published in July 2022, provides an initial comprehensive assessment of illicit finance risks posed to Seychelles by virtual assets and virtual assets service providers.
Samanta Esparon, an official from the Central Bank, gave a presentation on the de-risking monitoring project for which Seychelles is expected to host the working group in June.
May-Paule Rabat from the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles took part in the progress review of two-member countries as a review expert. The review groups assess the progress made by member countries as part of their reporting obligations after undergoing a mutual evaluation and request for re-ratings to address their shortcomings.
Seychelles and Mauritius will become the next co-chairs of the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee of the ESAAMLG.