March 5, 2010
Creese – Beware of terrorist links

St. Vincent and the Grenadines may not be on any watch list for terrorist activities, but financial institutions here are still being encouraged to be on the lookout for transactions and trends that may facilitate or fund terrorism.{{more}}

So says Legal Officer in the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) Kozel Creese, while addressing participants at an anti money laundering/ counter terrorism financing clinic, facilitated by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) on Wednesday.

Creese informed the gathering that unlike the illegal sources of money laundering, terrorism funding can be gained from legal and illegal means, although there are some links between the two.

“Techniques used to launder funds are the same used to conceal the sources of terrorist financing,” Creese indicated.

“Both terrorist financers and launderers’ activities are always geared towards secrecy and the same entities that are used to facilitate money laundering activities would be the same ones used to facilitate terrorism financing; for example the banks, non profit organizations wire transfer companies and such like,” said Creese.

According to Creese, financial institutions should be aware of trends of terrorist financing; which includes the use of charities and non profit organizations that are set up to operate as legitimately as they can.

These are called ‘sham’ companies.

There are also an increase in intellectual property crimes and insurance fraud, as well as the usual crimes such as drug, human trafficking, and extortion.

Creese indicated that a terrorist watch list is usually sent to financial institutions containing the names of businesses and individuals who may be involved in terrorist activities.

She said that institutions that may have clients, whose names may appear on these lists, should monitor their business activities with the institution. That financial institution has a legal duty to report any suspicious activity to the FIU, said Creese.

“Terrorism is a global evil,” she stated.

“Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a no risk jurisdiction for terrorism that does not mean we ought not to be vigilant in the event that such activities do take place,” said Creese.

Vigilance would facilitate detection of these activities and eventually prosecution of these crimes.