PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Today, an administration office on Sint Maarten – and its management – has been convicted for not reporting multiple unusual transactions. Because the management of the trust office has been convicted in relation to such offenses before, the Common Court of Justice has implemented the suspended sentence which was imposed at that time.
The transactions not reported by the administration office are part of a major corruption and money laundering investigation called Larimar. If the administrative office had timely reported the unusual transaction to the FIU, this fraud would have been brought much earlier to the attention of the judicial chain. This could have prevented further fraud and corruption and possibly saved the country of Sint Maarten a substantial amount of money. The OM TBO, RST TBO and FIU have worked out this case in close collaboration.
Persons obliged to report, such as administration and trust offices, but also banks, jewelers, car dealers, brokers and civil-law notaries are obliged to conduct customer due diligence and report unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). If on purpose they do not do this, they are guilty of a crime. For example, there is an unusual transaction when there is an indication that money laundering is involved, or when a transaction involves an amount in excess of a limit set by the government.
Reporting unusual transactions and conducting customer due diligence are important pillars in combating money laundering and terrorism financing. The reports of unusual transactions are essential to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to bring money from the underworld to the upper world.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office and FIU work closely together in the Non-Reporters project with the aim of better compliance of the reporting obligation. One of the current points of attention for the Non-Reporters project is getting all the persons obliged to report on Sint Maarten registered with FIU.
More information about FIU and reporting obligations can be found at www.fiu-sxm.net