Offshore Banking Act


Published: 2000

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CAP. 267, OFFSHORE BANKING ACT BELIZE

OFFSHORE BANKING ACT

CHAPTER 267

REVISED EDITION 2000

SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000

This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner

under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,

Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.

This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws- Page

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3

OFFSHORE BANKING ACT 8

Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.

BELIZE

OFFSHORE BANKING ACT

CHAPTER 267

REVISED EDITION 2000

SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000

This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner

under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,

Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.

This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws- Page

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3

OFFSHORE BANKING ACT 8

Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.

THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000

Printed by the Government Printer,

No. 1 Power Lane,

Belmopan, by the authority of

the Government of Belize.

Offshore Banking [CAP. 267

[ ]

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CHAPTER 267

OFFSHORE BANKING

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Preliminary

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Offshore banking defined.

PART II

Licensing Requirements

4. Prohibition on carrying on offshore banking business without a

licence.

5. Eligibility for the grant of a licence.

6. Contents of application.

7. Examination of applications.

8. Grant of licence.

9. Refusal of licence.

10. Duration of licence.

11. Other special conditions.

12. Display of licence.

13. Use of word “bank”, etc.

14. Duty to notify the Central Bank of change of address.

PART III

Types and Requirements of Offshore Banking

Licences

15. Types of licences.

16. Unrestricted “A” Class offshore banking licence.

17. Restricted “B” Class offshore banking licence.

18. Additional capital requirements.

19. Change of “B” Class Licence to “A” Class Licence.

20. Carrying on of offshore banking business by domestic and foreign

banks.

21. Penalty for infringing capital requirements.

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No. 1 Power Lane,

Belmopan, by the authority of

the Government of Belize.

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PART IV

Prohibited Activities and Disqualification of Directors,

Management and Workers

22. Prohibited transactions.

23. Prohibition on the use of the words “bank”, etc.

24. Disqualification of directors, management and workers.

PART V

Revocation of Licences

25. Grounds for revocation of licence and voluntary surrender.

26. Consequences of revocation of licence.

27. Preventive actions by Central Bank in the interest of depositors, etc.

28. Appeal against revocation.

PART VI

Accounting Records, Inspections and Audits

29. Keeping of accounting records.

30. Annual report and audit.

31. Periodic statements and other returns.

32. Inspection of records.

33. Special examinations.

PART VII

Secrecy and Disclosure

34. Secrecy and disclosure.

PART VIII

Exemptions from Taxes, Duties and Exchange

Control

35. Exemptions from taxes on profits and dividends.

36. Exemption from stamp duty.

37. Exemption from currency and exchange control.

PART IX

Winding up, Dissolution and Abandoned Property

38. Winding-up and dissolution of licensees.

39. Abandoned property.

PART X

Miscellaneous

40. General penalty for offences.

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41. Fines, etc., to be placed to the credit of the Central Bank.

42. Authority for prosecutions.

43. Limitation of proceedings.

44. Civil remedies not affected.

45. Regulations.

46. Indemnification.

47. Procedure where none is laid down.

48. English to be the authentic text.

49. Commencement.

CHAPTER 267

OFFSHORE BANKING

[26th July, 1996]

PART I

Preliminary

1. This Act may be cited as the Offshore Banking Act.

2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

“capital” means the net worth of a person, determined in accordance with

generally accepted accounting principles as the excess of assets over liabilities;

“Central Bank” means the Central Bank of Belize, established by the Central

Bank of Belize Act;

“dollar” means a unit of currency of the United States of America;

“domestic bank” means a bank holding a valid banking licence under the Banks

and Financial Institutions Act;

“foreign bank” means a foreign company holding a valid banking licence under

the laws of a country other than Belize;

“foreign company” means a company incorporated in a country other than

Belize;

“foreign licensee” means a foreign bank holding a valid licence to carry on

offshore banking business from within Belize, issued under this Act;

Short title.

Interpretation.

CAP. 262.

CAP. 263.

11 of 1996.

Commencement

[1. 8. 1996]

S.I. 103 of 1996.

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“foreign money” means a currency other than the Belize dollar;

“licence” means a licence granted under this Act, and “licensed” shall be con-

strued accordingly;

“licensee” means a company holding a valid licence under the provisions of this

Act to carry on offshore banking business from within Belize;

“local company” means a company incorporated in Belize under the Companies

Act, or the International Business Companies Act;

“local licensee” means a local company holding a valid licence granted under

this Act to carry on offshore banking business from within Belize;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Finance;

“non-resident” means a person who is not a resident of Belize within the meaning

of “resident” as hereinafter defined;

“offshore bank” means a company licensed under this Act to carry on the business

of offshore banking;

“offshore banking” or “offshore banking business” shall have the meaning

assigned to it in section 3;

“person” means an individual or a body corporate;

“resident” means-

(a) a person ordinarily resident in Belize, irrespective of

nationality; or

(b) any incorporated or other body, wherever incorporated, formed

or organized, that is controlled by a person described in (a)

CAP. 250.

CAP. 270.

above; or

(c) any company incorporated under the International Business

Companies Act (other than a Public Investment Company)

that holds or owns shares, debt obligations or other securities

in a company incorporated under the Companies Act, or has

any of its shares, debt obligations or other securities beneficially

owned or held by any person or company resident in Belize.

3.-(1) “Offshore banking” or “offshore banking business” means:-

(a) receiving, borrowing or taking up foreign money exclusively

from non-residents at interest or otherwise on current account,

savings account, term deposit or other similar account and

which according and subject to arrangement is repayable on

the cheque, draft, order, authority or similar instrument of the

customer, and investing the foreign money so received by

lending, giving credit or otherwise exclusively to non-residents;

or

(b) carrying on exclusively with non-residents such other activities

as are customarily related or ancillary to off-shore banking.

(2) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) above do not include banking

business which is carried on with non-residents by banks licensed under the

Banks and Financial Institutions Act.

PART II

Licensing Requirements

4.-(1) No person shall carry on offshore banking business from within Belize

unless he holds a valid licence granted under this Act.

CAP. 270.

CAP. 250.

Offshore banking

defined.

CAP. 263.

Prohibition

carrying on

offshore banking

business without

a licence.

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Belmopan, by the authority of

the Government of Belize.

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(2) A person who not being duly licensed under this Act-

(a) acts as an offshore bank, whether on his own account, in

partnership or otherwise;

(b) holds himself out as being licensed as an offshore bank; or

(c) takes or uses any name, title, addition, or description

implying or likely to lead another person to believe that he is

licensed as an offshore bank,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding

one hundred thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five

years, or to both such fine and term of imprisonment.

5.-(1) No licence may be issued under this Act to any person other than an

eligible company.

(2) A body corporate or proposed to be incorporated is an eligible company

if-

(a) it is incorporated or registered under the Companies Act or the

International Business Companies Act as a company limited by

shares, or it is a foreign bank;

(b) its shares are in registered form and not in bearer form;

(e) its memorandum and articles of association are acceptable to

the Central Bank; and

(d) its authorized and paid up capital accords with the requirements

of sections 16 or 17, as the case may be, and section 18 of this

Act.

Eligibility for the

grant of a

licence.

CAP. 250.

CAP. 270.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Companies Act, or the In-

ternational Business Companies Act, no company may be incorporated or

registered under those Acts, whose objects include the carrying on of offshore

banking business from within Belize unless its incorporation or registration has

been consented to by the Central Bank.

6.-(1) An eligible company desirous of carrying on offshore banking business

from within Belize shall make an application to the Central Bank for the grant

of a licence in the prescribed form.

(2) An application under subsection (1) shall show that the applicant is an

eligible company. The Central Bank may also require that such application-

(a) give particulars of, but not limited to:-

(i) the names and addresses of its directors and principal

shareholders;

(ii) the ultimate beneficial ownership of the company or

proposed company where the shareholders of record

are, or are to be, corporations, trusts or other legal

entities or organizations, or where the shareholders of

record are acting as nominees for or under the direc-

tion of any other person notwithstanding anything to

the contrary contained in any other law;

(iii) the shareholding structure and management of the

company;

(iv) the financial standing of the company, if applicable;

(b) contain a detailed business and financial plan of the company;

CAP. 250.

CAP. 270.

Contents of

application.

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(c) provide particulars of referees, guarantors and other third

parties;

(d) provide details of any subsidiary or affiliated company;

(e) provide details of any overseas office which the company has

or proposes to open;

(f) provide the names and addresses of the external auditors of the

company or proposed company, including the experience of the

auditors in auditing banks;

(g) provide such other information of a financial or other nature as

the Central Bank may require in any general or particular case;

and

(h) be accompanied by a non-refundable fee as may from time to

time be prescribed by the Minister.

(3) In addition to the requirements of subsection (2), a foreign bank shall

further supply to the Central Bank when making its application, a written

statement from the banking supervisory authority in its country of incorpora-

tion, and the banking supervisory authority in the country where its principal

office is located if different, confirming that the authority has no objection to the

application.

(4) An application for a licence and all documents submitted pursuant to

this Act in support of the application shall be signed by the directors of the

eligible company or proposed company making the application.

(5) Documents submitted to the Central Bank under subsection (4) may

be produced in evidence in any court of law or before the Appeal Board

established under the Banks and Financial Institutions Act. CAP. 263.

7.-(1) On receipt of an application from an eligible company for a licence

under this Act, the Central Bank may cause such investigation to be made of

the applicant company or proposed company, its financial standing, and of

any associates or affiliates of the applicant company or proposed company, as

the Central Bank considers necessary to satisfy itself that the applicant meets

the criteria of licensing and that it will conduct its business in a sound and

prudent manner.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Central Bank

may require an examination or investigation to be made of any or all of the

following:

(a) the financial status and history of the applicant company and

any of its directors, associates, principal shareholders or

affiliates;

(b) the character and experience of the directors and managers

thereof;

(c) the adequacy of its capital for the purpose of the business it

intends to carry;

(d) the earning prospects and viability of the proposed offshore

bank;

(e) the source of funds for capitalization;

(f) any other matter relating to the fitness and propriety of the

applicant company, its directors, beneficial owners or

management;

(g) the adequacy of the applicant company’s liquidity;

(h) the adequacy of the applicant company’s provision for non-

Examination of

applications.

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performing and doubtful assets; and

(i) the adequacy of the applicant company’s accounting methods

and records.

(3) For the purposes of this section, “associate” when used to indicate a

relationship with any person, means:

(a) a company of which the person so referred to beneficially owns

or controls, directly or indirectly, shares, or securities convertible

into shares, carrying more than twenty five per centum of the

voting rights;

(b) a partner of the person so referred to, acting on behalf of the

partnership;

(c) a trust or estate in which the person so referred to has a sub-

stantial beneficial interest or in respect of which he serves as

a trustee or in a similar capacity.

(4) For the purposes of this section:

(a) one company is affiliated with another company if that company

is the subsidiary of the other or both are subsidiaries of the

same holding company or each of them is controlled by the

same person;

(b) if two companies are affiliated with the same company at the

same time, they are affiliated with each other at that time;

(c) a company is the holding company of another if that other

company is a subsidiary of the first-mentioned company;

(d) a company is a subsidiary of another company if it is con-

trolled by that other company.

(5) The Central Bank shall submit its recommendation to the Minister

within sixty days of the acceptance of the application, provided that, if the

Central Bank requests additional information from the applicant, the period

during which the additional information is outstanding shall not be included in

the said period of sixty days.

8.-(1) On the recommendations of the Central Bank, the Minister may grant

a licence under this Act upon payment of the prescribed fee and subject to

such terms and conditions as he may specify; or he may refuse to grant a

licence.

(2) The Minister shall give his decision on an application submitted to him

within four weeks of the date of its receipt by him from the Central Bank.

(3) Where a licence is granted subject to the conditions that the terms and

conditions thereof may be varied subsequent to its issue, the Minister may, on

the recommendations of the Central Bank, at any time vary or revoke any of

the original terms and conditions or impose additional terms and conditions.

9.-(1) Where the Minister refuses to issue a licence under this Act, be shall

inform the applicant of the grounds of his refusal.

(2) Where the Minister states that the refusal to grant a licence was in the

public interest, he need not give details of that refusal, or state any other ground.

10.-(1) A licence granted under this Act remains valid until revoked pursuant

to this Act, but it is a condition of every licence that an annual licence fee be

paid by the due date by every class of licensee as prescribed by the Minister

from time to time.

(2) Every licensee who defaults in paying the prescribed annual licence

Grant of licence.

Refusal of licence.

Duration of

licence.

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Belmopan, by the authority of

the Government of Belize.

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fee in respect of a licence granted under this Act by the due date and who

continues to transact offshore banking business shall be liable to pay, upon

being called upon by the Central Bank to do so, an amount equal to three times

the amount of the unpaid fee.

11.-(1) It is a condition of every licence granted under this Act that:-

(a) a local licensee shall not change his name without the prior

approval of the Central Bank;

(b) a licensee shall not knowingly in the course of his business

accept any deposit for the account of a beneficial owner who

is a resident of Belize;

(c) a local licensee shall not open outside of Belize a subsidiary,

branch, agency or representative office without the prior

written approval of the Central Bank;

(d) the prior written approval of the Central Bank is required for

the appointment of directors of a local licensee;

(e) the Central Bank is notified as soon as a person ceases to be a

director of a local licensee.

(2) No person, either alone or with any associate or associates, shall, without

the prior written consent of the Central Bank, acquire control over any voting

shares of a local licensee where such acquisition would result in that person

exercising control equivalent to, or in excess of ten percent, twenty percent,

fifty percent or seventy-five percent of the total voting shares issued.

(3) Before giving an approval to any matter mentioned in subsection (2) of

this section, the Central Bank may carry out such investigations and examinations

as it deems necessary or proper.

Other special

conditions.

(4) Every licensee or other person who acts in contravention of this sec-

tion commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not

exceeding one thousand dollars for each day during which the offence contin-

ues.

12. A licensee shall display in a conspicuous place where he conducts

business a copy of his current licence granted under this Act.

13. Every licensee shall use as part of his description or title the word

“bank” or one or more of its derivatives in any language.

14.-(1) It shall be a condition of every licence granted under this Act that the

Central Bank shall be notified forthwith of any change of address of a licensee’s

business office in Belize.

(2) Every person who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection

(1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a

fine not exceeding one thousand dollars for every day during which the offence

continues.

PART III

Types and Requirements of Offshore

Banking Licences

15. The following kinds of licenses may be granted under this Act, namely:-

(a) Unrestricted “A” Class Offshore Banking Licence; and

(b) Restricted “B” Class Offshore Banking Licence.

16.-(1) No company shall apply for, or obtain, or be eligible to hold, an “A”

Class offshore banking licence under this Act unless it has at all times capital

equivalent to not less than five hundred thousand dollars or, in the case of a

Display of licence.

Use of word

“bank”, etc.

Duty to notify the

Central Bank of

change of address.

Types of licences.

Unrestricted “A”

Class offshore

banking licence.

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Belmopan, by the authority of

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foreign bank, not less than twenty five million dollars. The capital shall be

expressed in dollars or in any other foreign currency as the Central Bank may

approve in writing.

(2) The holder of an “A” Class offshore banking licence shall:-

(a) establish, maintain and operate a business office in Belize;

(b) transact offshore banking business through its business office

in Belize without restriction on that business.

(3) For the purposes of this section and section 17, a “business office”

shall be a local physical presence in which the bank’s business is carried on.

17.-(1) No company shall apply for, or obtain, or be eligible to hold, a “B”

Class offshore banking licence under this Act unless it maintains at all times

capital equivalent to not less than two hundred thousand dollars or, in the case

of a foreign bank, not less than fifteen million dollars. The capital shall be

expressed in dollars or in any other foreign currency as the Central Bank may

approve in writing.

(2) The holder of a “B” Class offshore banking licence shall:-

(a) establish, maintain and operate a business office in Belize; and

(b) transact only such offshore banking business as may be specified

in the licence.

(3) In addition, the holder of a “B” Class offshore banking licence is

prohibited from:-

(a) soliciting or accepting any deposits of money or any other valu-

able property from the general public; and

Restricted “B”

Class offshore

banking licence.

(b) issuing to any depositor a cheque book or providing any cur-

rent deposit or chequing account facilities for the transaction

of his offshore banking business.

18.-(1) In addition to the capital requirements of sections 16 and 17, the Cen-

tral Bank may also require every local licensee to maintain capital in amounts

not less than such percentage of that licensee’s total assets and off-balance

sheet contingencies, commitments, transactions and exposures, calculated in

such a manner and using such methods as the Central Bank may prescribe.

The Central Bank may also at any time direct a particular licensee to maintain

a higher percentage of capital in excess of the minimum specified above if it

considers such higher percentage appropriate having regard to the financial

condition of such licensee.

(2) The Central Bank may require any or every licensee to comply with

such minimum standards of prudent conduct of business as it may by Order

prescribe, including, but not limited to, standards relating to liquidity, concentra-

tion of risk and provisions against non-performing and doubtful assets.

19.-(1) The bolder of a “B” Class offshore banking licence granted under

section 17 may, at any time during the term of the licence, apply to the Central

Bank for a change in licence to an “A” Class offshore banking licence.

(2) In reviewing an application under subsection (1) of this section, the

Central Bank shall require such information as it deems necessary and shall

have regard to the public interest and such other considerations as it thinks fit

to take into account.

(3) The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Central Bank,

approve an application submitted pursuant to subsection (1) of this section

subject to such terms and conditions as he thinks fit; including, but not limited

to, an increase in capital to comply with the requirements of an “A” Class

offshore banking licence.

Additional capital

requirements.

Change of “B”

Class Licence to

“A” Class Licence.

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Belmopan, by the authority of

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20.-(1) A domestic bank licensed under the Banks and Financial Institutions

Act may carry on offshore banking business from within Belize only through a

separately capitalized subsidiary company which has been granted an offshore

banking licence under this Act.

(2) A foreign bank may carry on offshore banking business from within

Belize either through a locally incorporated subsidiary which has been granted

an offshore banking licence under this Act or through a branch which is estab-

lished and administered separately and independently from any branch or

subsidiary which may be carrying on banking business licensed under the Banks

and Financial Institutions Act.

21. The capital requirements prescribed in sections 16, 17 and 18 shall

continue during the subsistence of a licence and a licensee who fails or neglects

to maintain such requirements commits an offence and shall be liable on sum-

mary conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars for each day

during which the failure or neglect continues.

PART IV

Prohibited Activities and Disqualification of Directors,

Management And Workers

22. (1) A licensee shall not:-

(a) transact any offshore banking business with any person or entity

who is a resident of Belize unless such person or entity-

(i) is a bank licensed under the Banks and Financial

Institutions Act or under this Act which is transacting

business customarily carried on with foreign banks

outside of Belize; or

Carrying on of

offshore

banking

business by

domestic and

foreign banks.

CAP. 263.

CAP. 263.

Penalty for

infringing capital

requirements.

Prohibited

transactions.

CAP. 263.

(ii) is transacting such business in the capacity of agent,

nominee, legal representative or other similar

capacity exclusively for and in respect of non-

residents where such persons or entity is not the

beneficiary of such business transactions;

(b) transact any business otherwise than in accordance with the

terms and conditions of the licence and the provisions of this

Act or any regulations made thereunder.

(2) For the purpose of sub-section (1) (a) (ii) above, the onus of establishing

residency and beneficial interest in such transactions to the satisfaction of the

Central Bank shall be on the licensee.

(3) Every person or licensee who acts in contravention of this section

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine equal to two

thousand dollars for each day during which the offence continues or to impris-

onment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both such fine and term of

imprisonment.

23.-(1) Except with the prior written approval of the Central Bank, no person

other than the holder of a valid licence granted under this Act or under the

Banks and Financial Institutions Act shall:-

(a) use the word “bank”, “savings”, “savings and loan” or any of

their derivatives in any language, or any other word indicating

the carrying on of banking business, or offshore banking busi-

ness, in or from within Belize, in the description or title under

which such person is incorporated or carrying on business

in or from within Belize; or

(b) make, or continue to make, any representation in any billhead,

printed form, letter, paper, notice, advertisement, solicitation,

computer network, satellite or telephone transmission, or in

Prohibition on the

use of the words

“bank”, etc.

CAP. 263.

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No. 1 Power Lane,

Belmopan, by the authority of

the Government of Belize.

Offshore Banking [CAP. 267

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any other manner whatsoever, that such person is carrying on

banking business or offshore banking business in or from within

Belize.

(2) A licensee shall not:-

(a) in the conduct of his offshore banking business, use or operate

under a name other than the name under which he is licensed

under this Act;

(b) use, or operate under, a name which so closely resembles or is

identical to the name of any company, firm, business house, or

other financial entity or institution whether within or outside

Belize as is likely to mislead or deceive; or

(c) use, or operate under, a name which is calculated to suggest

falsely that such licensee has a special status in relation to, or

derived from, the Government of Belize, or has the official back-

ing of or acts on behalf of, the said Government or of any

department or official thereof or is recognized in Belize as a

national or Central Bank.

(3) No licensee shall engage in advertising practices that are likely to

mislead or deceive concerning:-

(a) the relationship of the licensee with the Government of Belize,

the Central Bank or any department or office thereof;

(b) the true interest rate paid on deposits or charged on credit;

(c) the true returns on the management of investments;

(d) the insured or guaranteed status of deposits or other liabilities

or of investments managed by it; or

(e) the financial condition of the institution.

(4) Every person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is

liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty five thousand

dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both such

fine and term of imprisonment.

(5) In this section, the term “printed form” includes a form of which copies

are produced by photocopying or by any duplicating or reproduction process,

including but not limited to letterpress, photographic, lithographic or stencilling,

or any other similar process.

24.-(1) No person shall apply for, or obtain, or be eligible, or continue to be

employed, as a director, official, manager, secretary or other worker of any

licensee licensed under this Act, without prior approval in writing of the Central

Bank if-

(a) he has been a director of, or directly or indirectly involved in,

the management of a bank which has had its licence revoked

in accordance with section 25 and section 27 of this Act or

section 7 of the Banks and Financial Institutions Act, or in

accordance with the banking laws of another country; or

(b) he has been dismissed from the management of a bank for an

act or conduct involving dishonesty or fraud; or

(c) he has been convicted in Belize or elsewhere for any offence

triable on indictment in Belize; or

(d) he is or becomes bankrupt, suspends payment to, or

compounds with, his creditors; or

(e) he is, in the opinion of the Central Bank, not a fit and proper

person to work or continue to work for a licensee.

Disqualification of

directors,

management and

workers.

CAP. 263.

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No. 1 Power Lane,

Belmopan, by the authority of

the Government of Belize.

Offshore Banking [CAP. 267

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(2) Every person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) above

commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not

exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding

two years, or to both such fine and term of imprisonment.

PART V

Revocation of Licences

25.-(1) The Minister may, on recommendation from the Central Bank, revoke

a licence if the licensee so requests or if:

(a) the licensee does not within six months after the grant of the

licence, or such longer period as the Central Bank may ap-

prove in writing, commence offshore banking business; or

(b) the licensee fails to comply with any term or condition of his

licence; or

(c) the licensee is in breach of any duty or obligation imposed upon

him by this Act or commits an offence under this Act or any

regulations made thereunder; or

(d) the licensee fails to comply with any provision of this Act, or

any directive or Order issued by the Minister or the Central

Bank under this Act; or

(e) the licensee ceases to carry on offshore banking business; or

(f) the licensee goes into liquidation or is wound-up or otherwise

dissolved; or

(g) the licensee fails to pay the prescribed annual licence fee as

provided for under section 10 of this Act; or

Grounds for

revocation or

licence and

voluntary

surrender.

(h) the circumstances specified in section 27 (1) exist.

(2) A licensee shall not be allowed to surrender his licence voluntarily and

request subsequent revocation unless he produces evidence satisfactory to

the Central Bank that he has repaid all of the deposits and other liabilities and

has transferred all his assets held or administered by him and that he has ceased

carrying on all other forms of offshore banking business from within Belize.

26.-(1) Where a licence is revoked under section 25, the licensee shall forthwith

surrender the licence and every copy thereof in his possession to the Central

Bank and the Central Bank may appoint any person it deems suitably qualified

to properly carry out the functions of an administrator or liquidator with respect

to the affairs of the licensee.

Every such person so appointed shall have full power and authority to perform

the functions of the administrator or liquidator for that licensee without further

action on the part of the Central Bank and with such legal rights and duties

under the laws of Belize as may be held by the Central Bank acting in such

capacity.

(2) The Central Bank shall promptly give notice of the revocation of the

licence and of the appointment of the administrator or liquidator (if any) to the

licensee as well as to the creditors, depositors, directors, shareholders, custom-

ers, and employees of the licensee and to the relevant authorities in Belize and

abroad.

27.-(1) If in the opinion of the Central Bank, a licensee is carrying on his

business in a manner detrimental to the public interest or to the interest of

depositors, creditors and other customers, or has insufficient assets to cover

his liabilities, or is contravening any of the provisions of this Act, or regulations

made thereunder, the Minister may, on the recommendation of the Central

Bank, take one or more of the following measures from time to time as may

seem to him necessary:-

Consequences of

revocation of

licence.

Preventive

actions by Central

Bank in the

interest of

depositors, etc.

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Offshore Banking [CAP. 267

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(a) revoke the licence pursuant to section 25 of this Act;

(b) impose new conditions upon the licence or amend or revoke

existing conditions;

(c) require the removal or substitution of any director or officer of

the licensee;

(d) at the expense of the licensee, appoint a person, who, in his

opinion, has adequate training and experience, to advise the

licensee on the proper conduct of his affairs and to report to

him thereon within such time as may be specified; or

(e) require the licensee forthwith to take such measures as he may

consider necessary in relation to his business.

(2) If a licensee refuses or fails to take any measure required under paragraph

(e) of subsection (1) of this section, he commits an offence and is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars in respect of

every day during which the offence continues.

28.-(1) Any licensee who is aggrieved by the revocation of his licence under

this Act may within twenty-one days of the communication of the decision to

him appeal to the Appeal Board established under Part X of the Banks and

Financial Institutions Act and thereafter the provisions of that Part of that Act

shall mutatis mutandis apply to appeals under this Act.

(2) Any party aggrieved by a decision of the Appeal Board may appeal to

the Court of Appeal on the ground that the decision was erroneous on a point

of law and the Court may affirm or set aside the decision appealed against, and

may remit the matter to the Appeal Board for rehearing and determination by it.

Appeal against

revocation.

CAP. 263.

PART VI

Accounting Records, Inspections,

and Audits

29. A licensee shall keep his offshore banking business records in such a

manner as will enable his accounts and records to be conveniently and properly

audited and examined pursuant to the provisions of this Part of this Act.

30.-(1) Every local licensee shall appoint annually an approved auditor whose

duties shall be to make a report upon the annual balance sheet, profit and loss

accounts and statement of cash flows in respect of his offshore banking busi-

ness, and in every such report the auditor shall state whether, in his opinion,

proper books and records of account have been kept, whether the balance

sheet and other accounts and financial statements are in agreement with the

licensee’s books and records, and whether the balance sheet, profit and loss

accounts and statement of cash flows are complete and fair and properly drawn

up and whether it exhibits a true and correct statement of the financial condition

and affairs of the licensee, and in any case in which the auditor has called for

explanation or information from the officers or agents of the licensee, whether

the same was found to be satisfactory.

(2) The report of an approved auditor under subsection (1), along with

copies of the balance sheet, profit and loss accounts, statement of cash flows,

supplementary notes and management letter, shall be sent by the licensee to

the Central Bank within four months after the close of the licensee’s financial

year, or such longer period as the Central Bank may in writing approve.

(3) In the case of a foreign licensee, the consolidated audit report and

financial statements of the foreign bank as stipulated in subsection (2) of this

section shall be sent to the Central Bank within the time stipulated therein.

(4) Every licensee who fails to comply with the requirements of subsec-

tion (2) or (3) of this section shall be liable to pay, upon being called upon by

Keeping of

accounting

records.

Annual report and

audit.

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the Central Bank to do so, a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars.

(5) A copy of the report of the auditor shall bear on its face the certificate

of the auditor and shall be displayed by every licensee in a conspicuous place in

his business office in Belize.

(6) No person having an interest in any local licensee other than as a

depositor, and no director, officer or agent of the licensee or of an affiliate of the

licensee shall be eligible for appointment as an approved auditor for that lic-

ensee; and any person appointed as such auditor to any licensee who subse-

quently acquires such interest or becomes a director, officer or agent of that

licensee shall cease to be auditor.

(7) If the Central Bank, on reasonable grounds, is not satisfied with the

annual report of an auditor appointed by a local licensee, it may appoint another

auditor to make an independent audit report, and in every such case the Central

Bank shall fix the remuneration to be paid by the licensee to such auditor ap-

pointed under this subsection.

(8) If a licensee fails to appoint an approved auditor under this section, the

Central Bank may appoint an auditor who shall have all the powers and duties

of an auditor appointed by the licensee to carry out an audit. The Central Bank

shall fix the remuneration to be paid by that licensee to such auditor appointed

under this subsection.

(9) If the auditor appointed under this section becomes aware, during the

course of his examination of the licensee or at any other time, that the licensee

is conducting his affairs in an unsafe and unsound manner, is insolvent, is in

contravention of this Act or any terms and conditions that may be attached to

his licence, is involved in or is aiding or abetting fraudulent or criminal activity,

he shall forthwith report such findings to the Central Bank. Any auditor making

such report shall not be legally liable for such disclosure if he acts in good faith.

(10) Any auditor who fails to report his findings to the Central Bank as

required under subsection (9) above commits an offence and shall be liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars.

(11) For the purpose of this section, an approved auditor is an auditor who

is a member of one of the professional bodies for the time being declared by

the Central Bank by notice in the Gazette to be approved for such purposes.

31.-(1) Every licensee shall, in respect of his operations from within Belize,

submit to the Central Bank such returns and information as the Central Bank

may prescribe within such time as may be required.

(2) No statement, return or information shall be required under subsection

(1) of this section with respect to the affairs of any particular customer of a

licensee, except for large credit exposures.

(3) For the purpose of subsection (2) above, “large credit exposure” con-

sists of the aggregate credit facilities, including contingent liabilities and other

off-balance sheet transactions granted to, or entered into, on behalf of a per-

son or group of associated persons, that exceeds twenty five percent of a

licensee’s capital.

(4) Every licensee who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection

(1) above commits an offence and shall on summary conviction forfeit to the

Central Bank a penalty of one thousand dollars for every day the offence

continues.

(5) Every director, officer or employee of a licensee who knowingly or

wilfully supplies false or misleading returns or information to the Central Bank

under this section commits an offence and shall be liable on summary convic-

tion to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term

not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and term of imprisonment.

Periodic

statements and

other returns.

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32.-(1) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the Central Bank shall have

the right to inspect from time to time and during the normal office hours of the

licensee and after giving reasonable notice to the licensee, all of the licensee’s

records, documents, business premises and assets wherever they may be kept

notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law.

(2) The Central Bank shall also have the authority to obtain particulars of

the names and addresses of the ultimate beneficial owners of a licensee in cases

where the shareholders of record are corporations, trusts or other legal entities

or organizations, or where the Central Bank has reason to believe that the

shareholders of record are acting as nominees for or under the direction of any

other person, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other

law.

(3) An examiner of the Central Bank carrying out an inspection under this

section shall not have, nor shall be given access to, the name of the account or

any information with respect to the affairs of any individual customer or depositor,

except as provided for under subsection (2) of section 31 of this Act or on an

order from the Supreme Court on application by the Central Bank.

(4) As soon as may be practicable after the conclusion of an examination

under this section, the examiners or persons appointed to carry out the

examination shall submit a full report on such examination to the Central Bank.

(5) Every person who-

(a) refuses or fails or neglects to produce or obstructs or wilfully

delays the production of any record, book, document, asset or

information required under this section; or

(b) knowingly produces any record, book, document or information

required under this section which is false or misleading in any

material particular,

Inspection of

records.

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceed-

ing two thousand dollars for every day during which the offence continues or

to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and

term of imprisonment.

(6) Every director, officer or employee of a licensee who knowingly or

wilfully supplies false or misleading records, books, documents or information

to the persons authorized to carry out an inspection under this section commits

an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten

thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to

both such fine and term of imprisonment.

33.-(1) The Central Bank may at any time and without notice appoint one or

more of its examiners or other qualified persons to carry out a special

examination under conditions of secrecy of the books and affairs of any licensee

whether in Belize or elsewhere-

(a) where it has reason to believe that such licensee may be

carrying on his business in a manner detrimental to the inter-

ests of his depositors, creditors or other customers, or is not

operating in a sound financial condition or may have insuffi-

cient assets to cover his liabilities to the public or may be,

either in Belize or elsewhere, contravening any of the provi-

sions of this Act or regulations made thereunder; or

(b) if the licensee suspends payment to depositors or creditors or

informs the Central Bank of his intention to do so; or

(c) if the Central Bank has reasonable grounds to believe that the

licensee is involved in fraudulent or criminal activity, or is aiding

or abetting others in committing fraudulent or criminal activity

or is otherwise conducting his business in a manner detrimen-

tal to the public interest.

Special

examinations.

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(2) Subject to subsection (3) of section 32, every licensee of whom an

examination has been ordered under subsection (1) of this section shall pro-

duce to the examiners, or other persons appointed under this section, at such

times and in such places as the examiners or persons may specify, all records,

books, accounts, minutes, cash, securities, vouchers and other documents and

assets in whatever form in the possession or custody of the licensee or of which

he is entitled to possession or custody relating to his assets, liabilities and busi-

ness generally, and shall give, within such time as the examiners or persons may

specify, such oral information concerning his business as may be required.

(3) As soon as may be practicable after the conclusion of an examination

under this section, the examiners or persons appointed to carry out the

examination shall submit a full report on such examination to the Central Bank.

(4) The Central Bank may order that all expenses of, and incidental to, a

special examination under subsection (1) of this section shall be paid by the

licensee examined.

(5) Every person who:-

(a) refuses or fails or neglects to produce or obstructs or wilfully

delays the production of any record, book, document, asset or

information required under this section; or

(b) knowingly produces any record, book, document or information

required under this section which is false or misleading in any

material particular,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding

two thousand dollars for every day during which the offence continues or to

imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and

term of imprisonment.

(6) Any director, officer or employee of a licensee who knowingly or

wilfully supplies false or misleading information to the persons authorized to

carry out an examination in terms of this section commits an offence and is

liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to

imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and

term of imprisonment.

PART VII

Secrecy and Disclosure

34.-(1) No person shall disclose any information relating to the affairs of a

licensee or any customer of a licensee which he has acquired in the performance

of his duties or the exercise of his functions under this Act except where such

information:-

(a) is lawfully required or permitted by any law or court of

competent jurisdiction in Belize; or

(b) is in respect of the affairs of the licensee or a customer of the

licensee with the authority of the licensee or the customer of

the licensee which has been voluntarily given, as the case may

be; or

(c) is disclosed by the Central Bank to a banking regulatory or

supervisory authority outside of Belize where such information

is considered necessary for that authority to exercise func-

tions similar to those of the Central Bank pursuant to this Act

including any information which will assist that foreign authority

in its consolidated supervision of a banking group which

controls or is affiliated with the licensee.

(2) The Central Bank shall not make a disclosure under paragraph (c) of

subsection (1) of this section unless:-

Secrecy and

disclosure.

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(a) it has satisfied itself that there are adequate legal restrictions on

further disclosures, including an undertaking on confidentiality,

by the intended recipient banking regulatory or supervisory

authority; and

(b) it relates to information on large credit exposures as defined in

subsection (3) of section 31.

(3) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) of this section commits

an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five

thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or to

both such fine and term of imprisonment.

PART VIII

Exemption from Taxes, Duties and Exchange Control

35.-(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law-

(a) no income tax or any other direct or indirect tax or impost,

shall be levied in Belize upon the profits or gains of a licensee,

or upon any interest or dividends earned by a licensee in respect

of the offshore banking business he carries on from within Belize;

(b) no income tax or any other direct or indirect tax or impost

shall be levied or collected in Belize in respect of any divi-

dends, interest or other returns from any shares, securities, de-

posits or other borrowings of a licensee or any assets or prop-

erty managed by the licensee if the dividends, interest or other

returns are in respect of shares, securities, deposits or bor-

rowings or assets or property beneficially owned by a person

who is not a resident of Belize.

Exemptions from

taxes on profits

and dividends.

(2) For the purpose of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above, the onus

of establishing ownership to the satisfaction of the Central Bank shall be on the

licensee.

36. Bills of exchange and promissory notes payable on demand and any

other document, instrument or certificate executed by or in connection with an

offshore banking business whether within or outside of Belize shall be exempt

from stamp duty.

37. The licensee and any offshore banking business conducted by and in

accordance with a licence granted under this Act shall be exempt from any

currency and exchange control restrictions or regulations under the Exchange

Control Regulations, 1976.

PART IX

Winding-up, Dissolution and Abandoned Property

38.-(1) The provisions of Part VIII of the Banks and Financial Institutions Act

shall apply mutatis mutandis to the winding-up and dissolution of licensees

under this Act.

(2) The courts of Belize shall have jurisdiction in every such winding-up

and dissolution.

39. The provisions of Part IX of the Banks and Financial Institutions Act,

regarding abandoned property, shall apply mutatis mutandis to the disposi-

tion of abandoned property by licensees under this Act.

PART X

Miscellaneous

40. Every person who commits an offence against this Act or any regula-

Exemption from

stamp duty.

Exemption from

currency and

exchange control.

Sub. Leg.

1991 Edn.

Vol. I

CAP. 43.

P. 2.

Winding-up and

dissolution of

licensees.

CAP. 263.

Abandoned

property.

CAP. 263.

General penalty for

offences.

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Offshore Banking [CAP. 267

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tions made thereunder for which no penalty is specifically provided is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to impris-

onment for a term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and imprison-

ment, and, if the offence is a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding

one thousand dollars for every day during which the offence continues.

41. All fines, forfeitures and penalties recovered or incurred under this Act

or regulations made thereunder shall be placed to the credit of the Central

Bank.

42. No prosecution in respect of any offence committed under this Act or

regulations made thereunder shall be instituted except by, or with the consent in

writing of, the Central Bank or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

43. All prosecutions, actions, suits, or other proceedings brought for any

offence, or for the recovery of any fines, penalties or forfeitures, under this Act

or regulations made thereunder, shall be brought within five years next after the

date of the offence committed or the cause of action accrued.

44. Nothing in this Act shall affect any civil remedy that any person may

have against a licensee in respect of any matter.

45.-(1) The Central Bank may, from time to time, with the approval of the

Minister, issue such orders, directives, circulars or make such regulations

prescribing all matters and things required or authorized by this Act to be

prescribed or provided for, or which are necessary or convenient for the carrying

out of, or the giving full effect to the provisions of, this Act.

(2) All regulations made under this Act shall be laid before the National

Assembly as soon as may be after the making thereof and shall be subject to

negative resolution.

46. Neither the Central Bank, nor any examiner or person responsible for

the administration of this Act, shall be liable in damages for anything done or

Fines, etc., to be

placed to the

credit of the

Central Bank.

Authority for

prosecutions.

Limitation of

proceedings.

Civil remedies

not affected.

Regulations.

Indemnification.

omitted to be done in the discharge or purported discharge of their respective

functions under this Act or any regulations made thereunder, unless it is shown

that the act or omission was in bad faith.

47. In the event that any act or step is required or permitted to be done

under this Act, and no form is prescribed or procedure laid down in this Act or

regulations made pursuant to this Act for doing the same, the Central Bank,

after consultation with the Minister, may in response to application made to it,

or on its own motion, give directions as to the manner in which the same may

be done, and any act or step done or taken in accordance with its directions

shall be a valid performance of such act or step.

48.-(1) Every document filed with the Registrar of Companies or the Central

Bank, and all records and accounts required to be kept under this Act shall be

in the English language.

(2) Where a document is not in the English language it shall be accompanied

by an authentic English translation, and in the event of any conflict in meaning

between the foreign language and the English version, the English version shall

prevail.

49. This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Minister may,

by Order published in the Gazette, appoint.

Procedure where

none is laid down.

English to be the

authentic text.

Commencement.

Related Laws