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Aug 10, 2015

…but Larger Jurisdictions are Determined to Destroy Offshore Sector in Smaller Countries

Dean Barrow

While CIBC FirstCaribbean and Heritage Bank are working to formalize the sale of assets, another offshore institution operating from Belize is yet to secure a correspondent bank.  As we’ve reported previously, Bank of America has severed ties with Atlantic International Bank Limited as part of an ongoing de-risking exercise.  The end of that relationship comes in spite of significant progress in fulfilling banking regulations with the United States and Europe.  According to PM Barrow, larger countries are hell-bent on tearing down the offshore sector of smaller jurisdictions.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Atlantic International Bank has not terminated their relationship, Bank of America has done the termination.  Look, we’ve explained this over and over, it is unfortunate but the international banks are in fact, as we said to you de-risking, that is the term that’s used in the sector and it’s happening to small jurisdictions all over the place.  Again, with the termination of the relationship with respect to Atlantic, it is only on the international banking side, so the domestic bank certainly, as of now, is not affected.  Apart from de-risking, I have said for some time now that the large jurisdictions are determined to destroy the offshore sector in small countries such as Belize.  They say that it is harmful tax competition, that it gives their nationals a chance to put their monies in jurisdictions such as Belize and avoid paying taxes to them.  That one is inevitable, I think that there is a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of the big countries, but I have made up my mind that that is inevitable.  So I’m far more concerned about the domestic banks and when they have their correspondent banking relationships terminated.  Thankfully, up until this point in time, it is only the Belize Bank, on the domestic side, that has had that termination.  So I will continue to hope that it is contained, that it won’t go beyond the Belize Bank, on the domestic side.”

 

Besides Belize Bank recently, Atlantic International Bank is the only other local financial institution affected by de-risking. 

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