FIU gets more reports on suspicious transactions

Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 12:30

The Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit (FIU) con­tin­ued to re­ceive sus­pi­cious re­port trans­ac­tions yes­ter­day.


This was ac­cord­ing to act­ing Di­rec­tor of the FIU, Nigel Stod­dard, who was speak­ing at the Po­lice Ser­vice’s (TTPS) week­ly me­dia brief­ing that was held at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in Port-of-Spain.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of the new $100 poly­mer bill which was on­ly made avail­able on Mon­day, Stod­dard said it was still “a bit of a short pe­ri­od to tell” but added that they con­tin­ue to re­ceive re­ports of sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions.

“The FIU and list­ed busi­ness­es they do have 14 days in which to make sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion re­ports,” Stod­dard said.

Told that ac­cord­ing to the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al, Faris Al-Rawi that there has been an in­crease in re­ports, Stod­dard replied: “

Again, based on the date in terms of when the trans­ac­tions have start­ed, where the Cen­tral Bank pro­vid­ed the funds to the banks on De­cem­ber 9, I can’t say de­fin­i­tive­ly if there is an in­crease based on the in­for­ma­tion we have present­ly.”

“But again the banks have 14 days in which they have to re­port their sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions. So we are aware of cer­tain trans­ac­tions and we have con­tin­ued to re­ceive sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion re­ports, but to do the analy­sis on whether it’s re­lat­ed specif­i­cal­ly to the poly­mer notes, that is some­thing which would have to be done at a lat­er stage, “ he added.

Supt Fi­nan­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Branch Wen­dell Lu­cas said the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, like First Cit­i­zens Bank have tak­en a bold step, “and I know oth­er fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions have al­so be­gun, but that source of funds de­c­la­ra­tion is to give the In­sti­tu­tions some in­di­ca­tion as to where the mon­ey came from.”

“Not with­stand­ing that po­lice of­fi­cers, specif­i­cal­ly fi­nan­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tors are vis­it­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions with a view of con­duct­ing checks on per­sons com­ing with large sums of mon­ey to get some in­di­ca­tion as to where that cash came from. So in ad­di­tion to what the bank is do­ing the po­lice have al­so stepped up their due dili­gence to iden­ti­fy per­sons who are try­ing to put bad mon­ey in­to the sys­tem,” Lu­cas added.

Lu­cas said if one has rea­son­able cause to sus­pect, that some­one is laun­der­ing, one “have a du­ty to re­port that in­for­ma­tion to the law en­force­ment and to the FIU.”

There is a penal­ty that goes with fail­ing to re­port, as well. A per­son who com­mits the of­fence un­der Sec­tion 52 is li­able un­der sum­ma­ry con­vic­tion to a fine of $250,000, and im­pris­on­ment for three years.

Where such a per­son is em­ployed in the state as a pub­lic of­fice, or on con­tract – sum­ma­ry con­vic­tion $500,000 and im­pris­on­ment to five years.

The FIB wish­es to draw to the at­ten­tion of cit­i­zens of T&T sec­tion 45.1 of the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act, which deals with mon­ey laun­der­ing.

And it says – A per­son who knows or has rea­son­able grounds to sus­pect that prop­er­ty is crim­i­nal prop­er­ty and who— (a) en­gages di­rect­ly or in­di­rect­ly, in a trans­ac­tion that in­volves that crim­i­nal prop­er­ty; or (b) re­ceives, pos­sess­es, con­ceals, dis­pos­es of, dis­guis­es, trans­fers, brings in­to, or sends out of Trinidad and To­ba­go, that crim­i­nal prop­er­ty; or (c) con­verts, trans­fers or re­moves from Trinidad and To­ba­go that crim­i­nal prop­er­ty, com­mits an of­fence of mon­ey laun­der­ing.

Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant