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CBS gets Fulbright Specialist guidance to boost anti-money laundering, terrorist financing measures | 22 August 2019

CBS gets Fulbright Specialist guidance to boost anti-money laundering, terrorist financing measures

(L to r) Ms Sheynberg, Mr Von Mertens and Mr Hassan during their meeting with the press yesterday

The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) is receiving guidance and expertise from a Fulbright Specialist under a United States assistance programme to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Finance of Terrorism (AML&CFT) mechanisms.

The Fulbright Specialist, Raisa Sheynberg, who has worked with the CBS for the past three weeks together with Nicholas Von Mertens, public affairs officer at the US embassy in Mauritius and the head of the CBS Financial Surveillance Division, Naadir Hassan, yesterday morning updated the press on the work underway to strengthen anti-money laundering, terrorist financing measures.

Mr Hassan said the CBS recently requested for assistance to look at different issues relating to AML&CFT. The government is investing a lot of effort in strengthening its AML&CFT framework and as part of that, a national strategy which would guide the CBS in better address risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing is also being finalised.

“We have already drafted a proposed framework for the strategy but we need guidance on different aspects and as part of the programme we are focusing on such aspects as digital assets like crypto-currencies, crypto-assets as new technologies and new products have brought new risks and as a jurisdiction we have to ensure that we have the appropriate framework to manage those risks,” Mr Hassan noted, pointing out that they are benefiting from support and guidance from Ms Sheynberg.

He went on to point out that the CBS’ main challenges in this area is understanding the new products and the risks that come with them, the measures and standards that need to be put in place for more transparency when handling and dealing in these products.

For her part Ms Sheynberg pointed out that meetings with all the different stakeholders like law enforcement agencies, financial regulators and groups outside government have been very productive.

“The government here has put an enormous amount of effort into structuring the most comprehensive regime, one that is applicable for detecting risks. I have been impressed by how deep the knowledge across agencies and how deep the commitment to get things right and I think this is particularly important given the challenges that the jurisdiction have faced in the past both in terms of stability of the financial system as well as the access that Seychelles has into the rest of the global financial system,” said Ms Sheynberg.

She went on to stress that the commitment here is really robust across government.

She noted that it is important not only to look at previous risks but also to be forward looking and this, she pointed out, is the main challenge ahead as the financial system globally evolves.

She said this is not a challenge only for Seychelles but one that every country across the world is grappling with as people quickly move out of cash to the digital arena.

She noted that the main focus is for Seychelles to be prepared to address these challenges.

At the end of her working mission, Ms Sheynberg will draw up recommendations to be considered by government in order to have a very robust framework against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Giving more details on the Fulbright Exchange Programme, Mr Von Mertens said it is often seen as exchange training programme whereby students can study for a Masters or Phd in the United States but it consists of many different programmes and one of them is the Fulbright Specialist.

The latter has allowed for Fulbright Specialist Raisa Sheynberg to work with the Central Bank of Seychelles for the past three weeks to develop a framework for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Finance of Terrorism (AML&CFT).

Ms Sheynberg’s participation is through a US embassy Fulbright grant which facilitates international education and exchange of ideas and expertise.

Mr Von Mertens said the joint collaboration with the CBS has focused on   preventing illicit money transfers and financing of terrorism.

He highlighted the cooperation with the CBS during that period and emphasised on the CBS and the US embassy’s shared commitment to prevent illicit transactions.

 

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