Financial institutions

6 financial institutions under investigation for money laundering – FID

At least six institutions operating in the island’s financial sector have been flagged by the Financial Investigations Division (FID) as not following the law and their operations “may be used to facilitate money laundering”.

According to FID Senior Director Keith Darien, “…We think a few of these (financial) institutions will be prosecuted, or will have to tackle from the standpoint of the fixed fines scheme, which has was included in Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) in November 2019.”

Despite the perceived actions of these six unnamed entities, Darien said there was “generally” a high level of compliance among financial institutions with POCA provisions.

“Currently, we have a compliance rate of…over 90%. Year to date, we have received over 50,000 suspicious transaction reports and large cash declarations from these entities,” he revealed.

Darien was addressing an FID press conference held on National Anti-Money Laundering Day.

In his performance report detailing FID’s operational activities, the Senior Director revealed that between January and October 2021, the division concluded investigations of 17 asset recovery cases involving criminal benefits or assets, of a cumulative value of 1.185 billion Jamaican dollars and a little more US dollars. $182,000.

This, he said, compares to the 13 cases that were closed in 2020, with assets or benefits amounting to J$300 billion and US$1.54 million.

“On an annualized basis, there has been an increase of more than 50% in the number of asset recovery investigations conducted and a 130% increase in the value of identified criminal assets or benefits, which make the subject to a forfeiture or forfeiture order,” Darien explained.

He added: “Of the 17 cases completed so far in 2021, eight involved people who were convicted for drug trafficking activities and four for lottery scam activities.”

Meanwhile, Darien noted that the FID has identified assets, including real estate, motor vehicles and bank accounts, valued at over J$300 million and approximately US$54,000, which he will continue to satisfy official orders as they are obtained from the Supreme Court. .

“Five formal orders have been granted by the court in 2021, amounting to more than J$33 million,” he pointed out.

“Since the start of the year, the division has blocked assets of more than J$334.5 million in connection with money laundering and asset recovery investigations. These include five homes, six motor vehicles and five bank accounts,” the senior manager continued.

Currently, the division has confiscated assets under management worth J$1.273 billion, Darien noted.

“These have been finalized by the court and recovery/forfeiture orders have been obtained.

“They include 44 properties valued at over J$1 billion; 19 motor vehicles valued at approximately $10 million; 19 bank accounts containing $245.7 million; and other assets such as jewelry, bags branding, etc., valued at $2 million,” he said.

“We are about to put some of these assets, (including) real estate in particular, on the market, in order to be able to dispose of them so that the country makes better use of the funds obtained from criminal assets,” Darien said disclosed.

IDF’s operational activities since the start of the year, he suggested, reflect the scale of financial crimes facing the country and the tangible efforts made by the division to combat the problem.

ReplyReply allForward