The Financial Investigation Agency Act, 2003 came into force on 1st April 2004. The Act established the British Virgin Islands Financial Investigation Agency as an autonomous law enforcement agency, generally responsible for the investigation of white collar and other serious financial crimes taking place within or from within the Territory, including money laundering offences. The Agency’s role also encompasses the processing of requests for legal assistance from authorities in foreign jurisdictions as well as acting as the receiver of all disclosures of information which are required to be made pursuant to the relevant financial services legislation.
The establishment of the Agency is in accordance with current international trends aimed at combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial and financial-related crimes as well as ensuring international co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.
The purpose of the Agency is to be a specialist investigative law enforcement arm of the Government of the British Virgin Islands in relation to the Territory’s position as an International Offshore Financial Centre. This position requires the Territory to actively fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorist activity as well as the growing trends towards international financial industry related crimes.
The Agency’s vision is to maintain financial and business sectors that are free of money laundering and other major financial crime. To this end, the Agency endeavors to work diligently and proactively to safeguard the integrity of the Territory’s financial sector while contributing to the global fight against money laundering and other financial crimes.
As mandated under the Financial Investigation Agency Act, the Agency is responsible for receiving, obtaining, investigating, analysing and disseminating information which relates or may relate to:
- A financial offence or the proceeds of a financial offence; or
- A request for legal assistance from an authority in a foreign jurisdiction which appears to the Agency to have the function of making such requests.
Under the Act, the Agency is also designated as the receiver of all disclosures of information which are required to be made pursuant to any financial services legislation relevant to its functions, including suspicious transactions reports and disclosures from foreign authorities.