Helin International, a wealth management outfit favoured by some VIPs and companies working in Africa, is already under investigation by French and Swiss legal authorities, and now its former partners in the UAE are being sanctioned, one by one.
Engaged in a major charm offensive aimed at the EU, this summer Mauritius plans to enforce a new law requiring companies registered on the island to prove that they have "substantial activities" in the country, but the legislation does recognise holding companies' activities as substantial ones.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth has put together a solid team of experts to work on getting Mauritius off the European Union's blacklist of third countries that pose a risk to the bloc because of anti-money laundering deficiencies.
As it strives to get itself removed as quickly as possible from the EU's money laundering blacklist to which it was added in May 2020, the Mauritian government's efforts are being thwarted by the cumbersome procedures it has to go through.
From 24 November to 4 December, the reputation of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mauritius will lie in the hands of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a body of the global money laundering watchdog FATF.
Five years after he was accused of defrauding the Angolan sovereign fund he was managing, Swiss-Angolan financier Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais has finally been banned from managing companies in Mauritius. The sanction was slow in coming and has fallen at a bad time for Mauritius as it faces criticism from the European Union for having failed to take more drastic action against money laundering.
The European Union's shock move to blacklist Mauritius for money-laundering and terrorist financing has sent investors scurrying for other markets, spreading alarm across the island's financial sector. But if private funds are running scared, European public agencies, major clients of the offshore centre, seem less distressed by the Commission's judgment.