Frequently Asked Questions

What is money laundering (ML)? ML is the process by which criminals attempt to conceal and disguise the true origin and ownership of the proceeds of their criminal activities.

What is terrorist financing (TF)? – TF is the use of funds, or the making available of funds, for the purposes of terrorism; or the acquisition, possession, concealment, conversion or transfer of funds that are, directly or indirectly, intended to be used or made available for the purposes of terrorism.

What is terrorism? – Terrorism is the use of force or threat of action:

  • which involves serious violence against a person or serious damage to property

  • which endangers life (other than that of the perpetrator)

  • which creates serious risk to health or safety of the public or section of the public

  • which is designed to seriously interfere with or disrupt an electronic system

  • where the use or force or threat is designed to influence government or intimidate the public or a section of the public; and

  • where the use or threat is made to advance a political, religious or ideological cause.

What is proliferation financing (PF)? – PF is the act of providing funds, directly or indirectly, to aid in the development and distribution of nuclear, chemical, radiological or biological weapons.

What is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)? - The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body which developed standards for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The standards are commonly known as the “40 Recommendations”, which were first published in 1990.

The Recommendations are endorsed by over 180 countries and territories, including the Virgin Islands as the basis for the establishment of laws, allocation of resources and overall approach towards combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Why is it important to comply with FATF’s 40 Recommendations?
Benefits of Compliance:

  • The Virgin Islands will not be negatively listed as AML/CFT non-compliant

  • The Virgin Islands will be considered a cooperative jurisdiction

  • There are not likely to be any restrictions on Virgin Islands’ businesses engaging in business activities externally

  • Funding arrangements will not be restricted on AML/CFT grounds

  • External political pressure will ease

  • Maintenance and possible growth of government revenue

What is the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)? - The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) was formed in 1990 and has 27 member states drawn from the Caribbean basin. It is one of several region-specific groups known as FATF Style Regional Bodies or FSRBs which are associate members of the Financial Action Task Force.

The CFATF Secretariat is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the 40 Recommendations. This monitoring process includes:

  • Conducting periodic self assessments of the implementation of the Recommendations;

  • Maintaining an ongoing programme of Mutual evaluation of members;

  • Co-ordinating and participating in training and technical assistance programmes;

  • Holding biannual plenary meeting for technical representatives and annual Ministerial meetings.

The Virgin Islands is a founding member of CFATF.
For more information, visit the CFATF website at www.cfatf-gafic.org.

Who are the members of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)? – The current members of the CFATF are:


 Antigua and Barbuda





 Cayman Islands


 Dominican Republic


 El Salvador  







 Sint Maarten

 Saint Kitts and Nevis

 Saint Lucia

 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


 The Bahamas

 Trinidad and Tobago

 Turks and Caicos Islands


 Virgin Islands


What is the purpose of a National Risk Assessment (NRA)? - The purpose of a national risk assessment is to:
(a)    identify ML and TF methods;
(b)    determine how often the ML and TF methods are used;
(c)    determine how effective the ML and TF methods are in moving illicit funds into and out of the country;
(d)    enquire into whether there are gaps in the AML/CFT systems and controls and what those gaps might be; and
(e)    devise a national strategy to address identified weaknesses in the AML/CFT system, including the proper allocation of resources.  

What is the NRA Framework? – The NRA framework is the guide that will be used, primarily to assist assessors, in the conduct of the Virgin Islands’ NRA.

 When is the conduct of the actual NRA expected to commence and end? – The actual NRA is expected to begin in September 2014 and last for a period of approximately 7 months, ending in March 2015.

Who is coordinating the conduct of the NRA? – The NRA is being coordinated by the National Risk Assessment Steering Group (NRASG) which is an independent body approved by Cabinet.  The NRASG has full responsibility for the preparation, conduct and review of the NRA including preparing the NRA framework; training assessors and providing guidance to them during the conduct of the NRA; preparing, analysing and finalising the NRA report; and taking forward and executing recommendations comprised in the NRA report (with policy guidance from the National Risk Assessment Council to which the NRASG reports).

What is the National Risk Assessment Council (NRAC)? –
The NRAC is the policy making body for the Virgin Islands’ National Risk Assessment exercise.  It is responsible for charting the way forward on any significant policy issues that relate to or concern the conduct of the NRA. It is a high-level institution that provides guidance on policy issues ranging from ensuring high political commitment to the AML/CFT process, to the actual conduct of the NRA, and the remediation of vulnerabilities and weaknesses found as a consequence of the NRA exercise. (See the Who We Are section of the website for more information).

If I have a question on the NRA who should I contact? – Persons with questions about the NRA can contact the NRA Secretariat by emailing their queries to info@bvinra.org. 

What are the Pre-assessment Questionnaires (PAQs) – The PAQs are questionnaires that have been developed to gather data from persons operating in various sectors of the Virgin Islands economy.  Information captured in the questionnaires will be used to identify and understand ML/TF risks in these sectors, as well as to develop methods to reduce and mitigate these risks.  Information collected from these questionnaires will not be used outside of the National Risk Assessment process and will remain confidential.

If I have a question on the PAQs who should I contact? – Persons with questions relating to the PAQs can email their queries to surveys@bvinra.org

What oversight is in place regarding the conduct of the NRA to ensure independence and objectivity? – To ensure a level of independence and objectivity in carrying out the NRA, two resident independent assessors drawn from the private sector have been engaged along with an external assessor to assist in carrying out the NRA and reviewing the process.  These assessors are well-versed in AML/CFT issues. 

Who comprise the assessors that will be carrying out the actual NRA? - The assessors used during the conduct of the NRA all represent the member agencies of the Inter-governmental Committee on AML/CFT matters (IGC).  IGC member agencies include: 

Attorney General’s Chambers  International Tax Authority 
BVI Airports Authority Ministry of Finance
BVI Ports Authority Non-profit Organisations Board
Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Financial Investigation Agency  Post Office
Financial Services Commission Premier’s Office
HM Customs Royal Virgin Islands Police Force
Immigration Department Virgin Islands Shipping Registry