October 14, 2011
Don’t be caught up in Crime!

Fri, Oct 14. 2011

by: the Financial Intelligence Unit

Money laundering plays a fundamental role in facilitating the ambitions of the drug trafficker, the terrorist, the organized criminal, the insider dealer, the tax evader, as well as the many others who suddenly become wealthy from their illicit activities and need to avoid attention from law enforcement authorities.{{more}} It is, therefore, necessary for financial institutions and relevant businesses to pay special attention to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing measures. This can only be done through a proper compliance system that allows for identification and verification of customers, recognition and reporting of suspicious transactions, recording keeping and training of staff. Staff of financial institutions and relevant businesses should monitor whether funds received from customers are from credible sources.

In order to do this, you must:

  • Know your customer: Learn about your clients by asking them questions relevant to the transaction and pay close attention to their financial affairs. This way, you are able to determine if there is something suspicious about the transaction.
  • Monitor your customer: Identify unusual behaviour patterns with respect to customers’ accounts and the products they use.
  • Know your transaction: Know when the transactions do not seem typical.
  • Know your process: Implement processes that can be used to manage the risks posed by customers trying to misuse services.

Citizens of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are not exempted from paying attention to anti- money laundering and counter terrorist financing measures. Citizens, you must pay attention to the characters you associate with or do business for. If there is a suspicion that someone may be involved in illicit activities, then you should exercise the greatest discretion in doing any sort if business with them. Engaging in business in these circumstances may lead to one being charged with the offence of concealing or transferring another person’s proceeds of criminal conduct, arranging with another to retain the proceeds of criminal conduct and or acquisition, possession or use of proceeds of criminal conduct. More often than not, law abiding citizens are contracted to change, collect, deposit, wire, and withdraw monies at business houses. In most cases, these monies cannot be accounted for as the source is unknown. Law abiding citizens then find themselves in a predicament when asked to explain the source and or intended purpose of the monies and are unable to do so.

Financial institutions, relevant business and citizens of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines all have a role to play in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other serious crimes. One must always be alert to warning signs. At all times, the relevant questions should be asked before committing oneself to a particular course of action as every action has its consequences.

Employees of financial institutions and relevant businesses must at all times act in accordance with the law and ensure that they obtain all relevant information as it pertains to the client, or the person who may be conducting a particular transaction on behalf of a client, the transaction, and the relevant identification requirements of the person conducting this transaction. Taking a bribe or willful blindness to the transaction that is being conducted is an offence within the law. One can be charged with facilitating a money launderer and or terrorist financier.

It is important that all citizenry whether you work within a financial institution, relevant business or citizen at large to embrace the view that we must be tough on crime and the causes of crime. This can only be achieved where all stakeholders including the citizenry of this blessed country make a concerted effort to detect, deter, and report such criminal activities. Further, we must prosecute those who engage in criminal acts, launder their ill gotten gains, facilitate or assist criminals in laundering their criminal proceeds.

Visit us at www.svgfiu.com for related articles and more information on Money Laundering, Terrorism and its financing.