$3b in suspicious transactions last year

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

SOME $3.177 billion in suspicious financial transactions were reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIUTT) last fiscal year, Finance Minister Colm Imbert told the House of Representatives in a statement on Friday.

He said these consisted of 1,449 completed transactions worth $2.086 billion and 189 attempted transactions worth $1.091 billion, amounting to 1,638 transactions in all.

The sum of 1,638 suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and suspicious activity reports (SARs) represented an 11 per cent drop of the previous year’s total reports, he said.

By far, most reports to the FIUTT came from banks at 82 per cent, followed by money value transfer services at seven per cent of all reports lodged.

“Of the 1,638 STRs/SARs received, 16 per cent or 262 reports were primarily associated with the demonetisation of the cotton-based hundred dollar bills due to Legal Notice No 357 of 2019

“Of these, 24 reports were submitted by the Central Bank under section 52 of the POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act.)” A decrease in submissions was blamed on the covid19 pandemic.

The most common reasons for entities to send STRs/SARs to the FIUTT were suspected tax evasion (534 people), money laundering (477 people), suspicious financial activity (290 people), fraud (231 people) and breach of exchange control (40 people.) These accounted for 96 per cent of the number of cases reported and 98 percent of the total monetary value of all STRs/SARS.

Otherwise the report noted a drop in STRs/SARs on the financing of terrorism from 12 to eight and attributed this to the apparent collapse of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS.)

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