Cayman Islands

Global sanctions guide

  1. Does the Cayman Islands have a sanctions regime in place? 

Yes.  As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands implements the international sanctions obligations of the UK.

Sanctions which are in effect generally apply to:

  • Any person in the Cayman Islands and any entity incorporated or constituted under the law of the Cayman Islands; and
  • By virtue of the UK Orders in Council, any person elsewhere who is a British citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British Overseas citizen, a British subject, a British National (Overseas) or a British protected person and is ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands.
  1. Does the Cayman Islands implement UN sanctions? 

Though the UK is an EU member state and a member of the United Nations, the British Overseas Territories (excluding Gibraltar) are not.  Despite this, the Cayman Islands nevertheless is subject to the UK’s foreign policy which implements the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and supports the UN’s sanctions regime.  As such, UN and EU sanctions regimes have been substantially implemented and are observed in the Cayman Islands.

  1. Does the Cayman Islands implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 

Yes.  As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands must implement all international sanctions that are extended to it through legislative action by the UK government.

As well as following the sanctions put in place by the UN and EU, the Cayman Islands has an autonomous terrorist sanctions regime and has powers over the regulated sector under the Terrorism Law (2015 Revision) and related legislation such as the Proliferation Financing (Prohibition) Law 2014.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in the Cayman Islands? 

The most frequently applied measures are:

  • Arms embargoes;
  • Bans on exporting equipment that might be used for internal repression;
  • Export controls;
  • Asset freezes and financial sanctions on designated individuals and corporate entities;
  • Travel bans on named individuals; and
  • Bans on imports of raw materials or goods from the sanctions target.

In general terms, it is a criminal offence to:

  • deal with funds or economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled by a designated person, if it is known, or if you have reasonable cause to suspect, that you are dealing with such funds or economic resources;
  • make funds available to, or for the benefit of, a Designated Person if it is known, or if you have reasonable cause to suspect, that you are making funds so available; and
  • make economic funds available to, or for the benefit of, a Designated Person if it is known, or if you have reasonable cause to suspect, that you are making economic resources so available and, in the case of making economic resources available to a Designated Person, that the Designated Person would be likely to exchange the economic resources, or use them in exchange, for funds, goods or services.
  1. Does the Cayman Islands maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities? 

Yes.  The Governor must maintain and publish a list of designated persons in a schedule to the Terrorism Law (2015 Revision).  In addition, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority maintains a published list of sanctions orders that have been given effect in the Cayman Islands.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 

Yes.  The lists generated by HM Treasury, the Home Office, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK are relevant.

  1. Does the Cayman Islands have a licensing or authorisation system in place? 

Yes.  All sanctions-related licence applications, notifications and authorisations are made to the Governor of the Cayman Islands via the office of the Financial Secretary of the Cayman Islands.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in the Cayman Islands? 

It is a criminal offence to breach a financial sanction without an appropriate licence or authorisation.  The penalties for breaching sanctions can vary across the various regimes, however, in general terms, any individual found guilty of an offence shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment and/or a fine.

Corporate entities acting in breach of financial sanctions can also commit a criminal offence and be liable to a fine.  Where an offence has been committed by a corporate body and is proven to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or neglect on the part of, a director, manager, secretary or similar officer of the corporate body, or any individual who was purporting to act in any such capacity, that individual, as well as the corporate body, is guilty of an offence and can be imprisoned or fined.

Any individual found guilty of an offence under the Terrorism Law (2015 Revision) for dealings with a terrorist organisation is liable on conviction to be imprisoned and/or fined

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in the Cayman Islands and what are their contact details?

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has overall responsibility for the Cayman Islands’ policy on and implementation of sanctions and embargoes.  It is responsible for ensuring that regulated firms have adequate systems and controls to comply with sanctions requirements.

Cayman Islands Monetary Authority
PO Box 10052
80 Shedden Road
Elizabethan Square
Grand Cayman  KY1 – 1001
Cayman Islands

Telephone: (+1) 345 949 7089
Fax: (+1) 345 946 9730

The Financial Reporting Authority is the Cayman Islands’ Financial Intelligence Unit with responsibility for receiving, analysing and disseminating disclosures of financial information concerning the proceeds of criminal conduct and the financing of terrorism.  It acts under the guidance of the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group which consists of the Attorney General, the Financial Secretary, Commissioner of Police, Collector of Customs, Managing Director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the Solicitor General.

133 Elgin Avenue
4th Floor
New Government Administration Building
Grand Cayman,
Cayman Islands

Telephone: (+1) 345 945 6267
Fax: (+1) 345 945 6268


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