|ISLAND ACTS TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING
ROSEAU, Dominica, Dec. 25— Dominica's legislature has passed an anti-money-laundering law that permits foreign authorities to investigate offshore banks, a step the Caribbean island hopes will remove it from an international blacklist.
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Dominica is one of 19 countries that the Financial Action Task Force, a group based in Paris that was set up by the United states and other industrial powers, deems uncooperative in fighting money laundering.
The Exchange of Information Act, passed earlier this week by Dominica's parliament, now gives foreign authorities access to information from the island's banks, trusts and companies. It sets up a regulatory authority to handle requests for information.
The law should ''meet and satisfy the internationally accepted standards set by the Financial Action Task Force,'' Prime Minister Pierre Charles said after the bill passed.
The bill's opponents, including the Dominica Bar Association, said the legislation granted foreign authorities too much power over banking.
Investors often choose offshore jurisdictions like Dominica because of their secretive banking laws that protect privacy.
Three other Caribbean countries -- Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines -- are still on the blacklist. The Cayman Islands and Bahamas were removed after they tightened their regulations.