‘Failed dirty money men’s smear toughens Seychelles’


27-September-2011

Delegates in a souvenir photograph with guests after the official opening of the seminar yesterday

Vice-President Danny Faure and lawyer Beatrice Hamza Bassey from New York – who worked with the attorney general’s office on the cases – said this at a three-day seminar on prosecuting and judging in money laundering cases, which is being attended by judges, lawyers, police officers, bankers and business executives among other people.

Mr Faure launched the seminar among guests who included the president of the Court of Appeal Francis MacGregor, ministers, attorney general Rony Govinden, police commissioner Ernest Quatre and member of the diplomatic corps.

Ms Bassey said the money launderers made outrageous claims in a US court and through US, UK and some local media, to tarnish Seychelles’ name after losing their case here but Seychelles decided to fight back.

“It was not easy to fight back because when you fight corruption it fights back but they withdrew the cases when we contacted them. These cases put the Seychelles government in a very good position and they realised Seychelles is going to fight back and intimidation tactics were not going to work.”

Mr Faure said these challenges we have faced and overcome “have only served to toughen our will and strengthen our determination to keep up the fight and to show the world that, small as we may be, we will not be intimidated by whatever powerful influences and counteractive forces”.

“Our government will remain firm and resolute in our stand against all forms of criminal actions detrimental to our image of stability and integrity. 

He said our anti-money laundering laws are new and complex and “implementation, prosecution and adjudication at Supreme Court level have been a learning experience and the law is being tested in the Constitutional and Appeals courts.

“Particularly challenging for a small island developing state of modest means, has been the targeting of Seychelles using US Alien Tort legislation in the New York District courts by organised criminality being prosecuted in Seychelles,” he said.

He said the targeting was an attempt to intimidate Seychelles from confronting financial crime and money-laundering in its financial services sector.

“These malicious and vexatious cases, which were deliberately and perniciously publicised in the international media, have now been withdrawn and dismissed, thanks to a robust response by the attorney general on behalf of the republic, he said, thanking Ms Bassey of Hughes, Hubbarb and Reed LLB, “who partnered with the AG’s office on these cases and who led our defence in New York”.

He said the seminar is being held at a time when there is growing concern in the world about money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Small island states like Seychelles are financially and economically vulnerable and it is critical that we have effective measures in place to mitigate the risks that this type of criminal activity poses to our society and fundamentally to us as a nation.”

It is also important that we get regional and global support to build our capacity and to empower us to protect ourselves from those threats and to enable us to fulfill our international obligations and responsibilities in the process,” said Mr Faure.

Delegates at the seminar will learn about international experiences and possible best practices and also present and reflect on the challenges faced with regard to anti-money laundering from the perspective of a developing small island state, he said, adding:

“Such learning experiences and exchange opportunities will serve to substantiate and enhance our own efforts in combating anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism.

“They will also reinforce our ongoing work in promoting good governance and strengthening our regulatory frameworks,” he said.

The seminar is taking place at the Seychelles Trading Company’s conference room.

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