For a number of years, the international financial services sector has contributed the greatest amount to the Bermuda economy. According to the National Economic Report published by the Ministry of Finance, international business provided $1.68 billion in total output or 27.3 per cent of total GDP in 2016. It is critical for Bermuda’s economic well-being then, that the Island remains in step with international standards set by supra-national regulatory authorities to protect the jurisdiction’s financial system from abuse.
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In December 2016, the legislature in Bermuda passed the Bribery Act 2016 (the “Act”) which will come into force on 1 September 2017. The Act is based on the UK Bribery Act 2010.
Currently, there are several separate laws dealing with bribery and corruption offences in Bermuda, such as the Criminal Code 1907 (Section 111 Official Corruption and Section 112 Extortion By Public Officers), the Parliament Act 1957 and the Parliamentary Election Act 1978. But as of Friday, there will be one comprehensive statute which sets out what constitutes bribery in Bermuda.
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Since the publication of the draft 2015 Amendment Bill in late December, the Bill passed into legislation with no changes to the substantive provisions proposed in the Bill: however, in order to remove the confusion that might arise if the provisions requiring the registration of all registers of directors and officers to be filed with the Registrar of Companies, the effective date for the introduction of s 64A of the Companies Act will be 1 April 2016. All other provisions are effective immediately.
The proposed amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 1997 (POCA) (and related legislation) under the Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill 2015 require careful reading. The amendments proposed in this Bill introduce several important amendments in a piece meal fashion in relation to several distinct statutory régimes. The form and content of the amendments are difficult to follow because you have to read them alongside the existing legislation, and the amendments are not readily comprehensible in the wider context of the existing provisions. Eventually the various Acts which are to be amended by this Bill will be published in a revised form that includes the amendments and deletes the sections that are to be repealed and replaced. Until then, make sure you have all relevant legislation open in front of you when you read the Bill.
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Changes in Bermuda’s Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (“AML/ATF”) Legislation will be addressed in Parliament in order to bring the technical components into compliance with the 2012 Revised Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) 40 recommendations (the “Recommendations”).
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