'Barber' goes to bank to change over $1 million cash

Date: 
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 14:15

A man walks into the bank with over $1 million dollars and when asked about the source of funds, he says he is a barber.

Others are walking in with as much as $2 million in cash. Some are attempting to buy up to a million dollars in jewellery and to buy cars with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These are some of the transactions the banks and law enforcement officers are seeing as the transition from the old to new $100 bills takes place.

One bank has told the Government that it has pushed out $150 million in the last two days. another, $120 million.

"Some of the examples will shock any law-abiding officer with persons turning up with large amounts of cash and can't explain where they got it," National Security Minister Stuart Young told today's post-Cabinet news conference.

He continued: "We've had quite a few instances of persons turning up and claiming to be part of some professions that you will be surprised to be carrying more than $1 million in cash."

Finance Minister Colm Imbert later added: "Some are finding it difficult to fill out a source of funds declaration and that's a challenge for the banks. If they say they got it from savings, it's proving a challenge. In cases like that persons will be advised to go to the Central Bank to change the notes." 

However, National Security Minister Stuart Young made it clear that even if they go to the Central Bank, they will still have to explain their source of funds.

But those who conduct suspicious transactions, will not be told that their transactions are being monitored.

"We are being advised by counsel every step of the way and there is a crime of tipping off," Imbert noted.

He added: "If someone engaged in a suspicious transaction and looks questionable, the bank official is not allowed to tell that person."

Young said that there are law enforcement officers who are part of the process and stationed where they need to be, based on intelligence.

The Minister made it clear that Muslims are not being required to open bank accounts. Muslims have complained that they do not use the banking system because the religion does not allow them to collect interest.

Minister Imbert said that two of the four major banks are not charging deposit and withdrawal fees but two others do.

He said the banks have been asked to open late on December 31 but has maintained that after midnight December 31, the notes will no longer be legal.

- Sampson Nanton

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