HAMILTON, BERMUDA – The Bermuda Monetary Authority (the Authority) has imposed civil penalties totalling $500,000 on ESTERA SERVICES (BERMUDA) LIMITED (the Company) pursuant to the provisions of sections 29A and 33B of the Trusts (Regulation of Trust Business) Act 2001 (the Act).
The civil penalties have been imposed for the Company’s failure to adequately comply within a specified time frame with certain requirements of the Proceeds of Crime (Anti-Money Laundering & Anti-Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2008 (the Regulations), and specifically the regulations relating to the application of Customer Due Diligence and Enhanced Due Diligence, internal controls, and risk assessment.
The Company was acquired from a group in January 2016 and is licenced to conduct Trust business by the Authority. Following an on-site inspection conducted by the Authority in late 2016, a number of deficiencies in the Company’s AML/ATF programme were identified. These were historic and pre-dated the acquisition. The Authority required these deficiencies to be rectified by 31 December 2017. The remediation was not, however, completed within that timeframe.
The Regulations have been in effect since 2009 and this matter highlights (1) the importance of licencees having up-to-date AML/ATF policies and procedures in place which are appropriate, effective, and fully implemented in order to avoid the risk of financial products or legal structures being used as a vehicle for money laundering or terrorist financing; and (2) the importance of licencees remediating the findings of the Authority within reasonable timeframes.