Antigua rebuffs US state department report

Officials in the Internet Gaming and Anti-Money laundering sector have refuted claims by a US State Department report that Antigua & Barbuda was susceptible to money laundering due to gaming and “loosely regulated offshore financial sectors.”

The report was prepared by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affair.

The 2005 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report was released on Friday in Washington and it charged the Office of National Drug Control and Money Laundering Policy (ONDCP) and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission with receiving “approximately four suspicious activity reports from domestic and offshore gaming entities per week.”

Additionally the report urged the government “to take the necessary legislative and regulatory steps to ensure its gambling sector is properly covered by anti- money laundering legislation and is strictly supervised.

However both the Director of Internet Gaming Kaye McDonald and Director of the ONDCP Alex Vanderpool refuted the claims and pointed to a recent IMF study which gave Antigua & Barbuda a rating “as high as and better than developed countries that can be assessed through the IMF website.”

Vanderpool noted that Antigua & Barbuda had just been through a vigorous IMF financial sector assessment programme last August which looked at the state of the financial sector, the legislative framework and its enforcement regime, and had passed with flying colours.

“All that signifies is that we are actively scrutinising any suspicious activity that might be emanating from financial institutions,” McDonald said.

“I think it is their way of trying to continue their efforts to support their position (in the WTO) that this industry cannot be regulated.

“We still have the judi poker victory from the WTO and the IMF report to show that the industry can be regulated,” McDonald said.

She further added: “I think that we need to look at …