FIU, Prosecutor start non-reporting project

PHILIPSBURG–Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) St. Maarten and the Prosecutor’s Office will be working together in the “non-reporting project” that aims to provide timelier and better reports of unusual transactions to the FIU, Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Norman Serphos announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

FIU is on the island carrying out investigations into mandatory institutions and compliance with the National Ordinance on reporting unusual transactions LV MOT as well as the National Ordinance Identification Service LV ID. The designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBP) on the island include notaries, accountants, jewellers, car dealers, administrative offices and real estate agents.

The FIU has been diligently working on the registration of and providing of information to the DNFBPs and the financial institutions on the island when it comes to reporting unusual transactions and performing client due diligence. A large majority of these businesses and professions adhere to the registration and information requirements; but a small group do not comply or do not fully comply.

Information of the DNFBPs that do not adhere to the registration requirement at the FIU can be transferred to law enforcement authorities for criminal investigation. This is based on article 23 of the LV MOT.

In a later stage of the project the results of the FIU audits will be discussed with the Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether this should be followed up by criminal investigation in cases where reports are not submitted or submitted incompletely, or if no client due diligence was conducted.

The approach to money-laundering and terrorism financing is a global initiative. It is very important for the effectiveness of combating all forms of serious crime as well as the protection of the integrity of the financial and economic market. Capturing the criminal origin of crime proceeds prevents the perpetrators of these crimes from staying out of the reach of the investigating authorities and enjoying their criminal proceeds without any obstacles.

The DNFBPs are obliged to report unusual transactions to the FIU. These so-called “gatekeepers” are indispensable in the fight against money-laundering and terrorist financing and it is therefore important that they comply with their obligations under the LV MOT and the LV ID.

The FIU then assesses whether the unusual transaction is suspicious. If the transaction is considered suspicious, it can be investigated by the authorities. If institutions fail to report unusual transactions or if they intentionally do so late, this will undermine national and global financial integrity.

It can then be considered unfair competition with parties that comply with all relevant laws in this respect. In case of such failure, the prosecution has the authority to initiate a criminal investigation.

Source: The Daily Herald