The Maldives has slipped to 94 on a global financial secrecy scale rating countries on their laws regarding the transparency of ownership structures, bank secrecy rules, financial reporting and disclosure requirements.
Rankings released Tuesday night from the Tax Justice Network show that the Maldives accounts for less than 0.1 percent of the global market for offshore financial services, making it a tiny player compared with other secretive financial jurisdictions such as the US and Switzerland.
The latest country report shows there is either partial or no public online access to information about bank secrecy and wealth registration.
It also shows that domestic and foreign tax evasion is not a criminal offence under anti-money laundering regulations.
“Money laundering is criminalized only with respect to proceeds of offenses listed in the Drugs Act,” says the report. “Although all categories of offenses set out in the international standards have been criminalized, only drug-related offenses are considered predicate offenses for money laundering, constituting a major shortcoming of the current AML/CFT (anti-money laundering – combating the financing of terrorism) regime.
“In addition, terrorism financing is covered to a limited extent under the ‘aiding and abetting’ clause of the GOM’s (government of the Maldives) terrorism legislation; however it is not criminalized as an autonomous offense.
“Shortcomings in the overall criminal legislative framework, in particular with respect to criminal procedure, and the lack of resources of competent authorities make it challenging for the GOM to fight effectively against money laundering and terrorist financing.”
The data cut-off point for 2018 was September 30, 2017.
The Financial Secrecy Index is published every two years and scores are weighted for size. The Maldives has a secrecy score of 81.