In December 2000, The Government passed a package of nine anti-money laundering and anti-drug laws. Included in the package was the Central Bank of the Bahamas Act 2000, which allows the Central Bank, subject to certain conditions and controls, to share supervisory information with overseas regulatory authorities.
Included in this package was the Banks and Trust Companies Act 2000, which created specific criteria that a bank must meet in order to be issued a license to operate in The Bahamas.
The Financial and Cooperative Services Providers Act 2000 allows for the licensing and regulation of financial and corporate service providers dealing principally with registration management and administration of IBCs.
The Financial Transactions Reporting Act of 2000 details how customer identification is to be verified and outlines financial institutions’ reporting obligations of suspicious transactions.
The Financial Intelligence Unit Act of 2000 established the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is responsible for enforcing the various anti-money laundering provisions included in the Financial Transactions Reporting Act of 2000.
The International Business Companies Act of 2000 set new guidelines for IBCs operating in The Bahamas. These new regulations dramatically changed the financial services industry in The Bahamas, and has resulted in a sharp reduction in the number of IBCs.
Law Firms: Attorneys at Law in the Bahamas
|Dupuch & Turnquest & Co.||Dupuch & Turnquest & Co. is one of the oldest and most respected Law Firms in The Bahamas, with an international reputation earned in over fifty (50) years of practice commencing in 1948 when our late Founding Partner, the Honourable E. A. P. Dupuch, C.B.E., Q.C., entered legal practice.|
|Lennox Paton||Full service commercial law firm with offices in Bahamas, BVI and London.|
|Sean B Callender & Co.||Sean B. Callender & Co. offers a wide range of legal services, including those provided under the Financial and Corporate Services Providers Act, by virtue of its License held under the provisions of the Act.|
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The Judicial Process
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, “While generally fair, the Bahamian judicial process tends to be much slower than the norm in the United States and the Embassy has received occasional reports of malfeasance on the part of court officials. There have been instances of Bahamian businessmen attempting to take advantage of delays in the judicial process and their physical proximity to gain advantages in commercial disputes with foreign firms, but there is little evidence that the Bahamian judiciary has favored local firms over foreign ones in its adjudication of disputes.”
The Bahamian government generally follows a hands-off approach to business, but the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that “discretionary issuance of business licenses can result in a lack of transparency in decisions to authorize or to renew the authority of a business.… Obtaining required permits, especially immigration permits, can take an inordinate length of time.” Labor laws can be burdensome, especially for domestic business. According to the U.S. Department of State, “allegations of improper conduct on the part of Government officials surface regularly….”