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Published 7th December 2010, 11:50am

New declaration requirements relating to the cross-border transport of money are being implemented by the Customs Department in the wake of The Customs (Declarations and Disclosures) Regulations, 2007.

Under the Customs Law (2007 Revision) "money" means cash (bank notes or coins that are legal tender in any country) or bearer negotiable instruments (travellers cheques, cheques, promissory notes, money orders).

The Customs (Declarations and Disclosures) Regulations, and an amendment to the Money Laundering Regulations were published as supplements No. 1 and No. 2 respectively with Extraordinary Gazette No. 21 on 10 August, 2007.

The new regulations require individuals transporting money amounting to CI$15,000 or more into the Cayman Islands to make a declaration in writing to customs officers at the time of entry. The customs declaration form has been updated to reflect this requirement. Once declared, individuals will also be required to provide details about the money being transported on a separate form.

Individuals transporting CI$15,000 or more out of the Islands will also be required to make disclosure upon verbal or written inquiry by customs officers.

The regulations permit exemptions to these requirements for the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, common carriers of passengers or goods with respect to money being transported by third parties and any other "institutional" transporters exempted by Order made by the Governor in Cabinet, on the recommendation of the Financial Secretary.

Penalties for false declarations/disclosures carry a fine of six thousand dollars and imprisonment for six months and forfeiture of up to twenty-five percent of the amount actually transported, on summary conviction.

Customs officers face strict penalties should they improperly divulge information they acquire in the course of their duties or in the exercise of their powers and functions.

The new regulations are necessary to enable the Cayman Islands to comply with international standards and do its part in the global fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Collector of Customs Carlon Powery said, "We expect a smooth transition to the new declaration requirements, as the travelling public will be very familiar with similar requirements on entry into the United States. My officers will be available to assist the public with any queries."

Cayman's anti money-laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime operates on the public sector side through a partnership of institutions and authorities which includes the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police, the Financial Reporting Authority, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Central Authority, Customs, the Portfolio of Finance & Economics and the Attorney General's Chambers. The Cayman Islands also has an Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group, which is a statutory body charged with policy and implementation oversight in relation to the anti money-laundering regime.