St. Maarten on new US list as money launderer


PHILIPSBURG–The United States (US) has named 21 Caribbean nations among a wider global list of Major Money Laundering Countries of 2016. The list includes all three Dutch Caribbean countries Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten.

The American State Department earlier this week released the list in its 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

The US says money laundering in St. Maarten, centres around criminal profits that occur through business investments and international tax shelters. The State Department slammed the island’s government as “weak,” adding that it continues to be vulnerable to integrity-related crimes.

Aruba, the report says, is a transhipment point for drugs from South America bound for the United States and Europe and for currency flowing in the opposite direction. Bulk cash smuggling represents a risk due to the location of Aruba between North and South America.

Money laundering, according to the report, is primarily related to proceeds from illegal narcotics trafficked by criminal organizations and occurs through real estate purchases and international tax shelters. There is no significant black market for smuggled goods on Aruba.

The US claims money laundering in Curaçao is primarily related to proceeds from illegal narcotics. The State Department report says money laundering organizations take advantage of the availability of US dollars, offshore banking and incorporation systems, to launder through real estate purchases, international tax shelters, wire transfers and cash transport among Curaçao, the Netherlands and other Dutch Caribbean islands.

Source: The Daily Herald