Students, housewives being used to launder money, FIU head says

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Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Matthew Langevine says the unit has been receiving an increasing number of suspicious transaction reports from money transfer agencies as it relates to persons who solicit individuals to carry out monetary transactions on their behalf.

According to the FIU head, it has also been discovered that these individuals are tied to drug and human trafficking and money laundering and are utilising the services of the regular man on the street.

“We have seen students being used to send monies through these money transfers agencies, housewives, unemployed persons etc. we want to encourage the public at large to be vigilant against these activities and not to get caught up in these activities,” Langevine said.

In 2018, the FIU received 330 suspicious transaction reports, the majority of which came from money transfer agencies.

For this year thus far, 120 suspicious reports were made to the unit, a high per cent also coming from the money transfer entities.

Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Matthew Langevine (DPI photo)

“[It is] a sector which we see a high level of suspicious transaction activities where monies are sent cross borders that raise a number of concerns.”

For 2018 and 2019, the FIU sent 29 and 12 intelligence reports respectively to SOCU covering several different suspected predicate offences including corruption and bribery, drug trafficking, fraud and tax evasion among others.

The FIU has also been receiving suspicious transaction reports from a number of financial institutions, including the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) and gold dealers.

Langevine said those sectors continue to actively monitor transactions and provide intelligence to the FIU which, in turn, shares with SOCU.

Langevine emphasised that every citizen has an obligation to play their part in fighting money laundering.

“We want to encourage the public at large, not to get caught up in those kinds of activities however beneficial it may seem to you in the onset because it can have far-reaching implications for persons.”

The FIU head lauded the support of the more than 330 reporting agencies, that continue to provide the much-needed information to the unit.

“We have been getting relatively good support. I think the entities recognise the importance of this and with the kind of engagements we have been having nationally to ensure that the agencies understand their obligation, they appreciate why they need to be reporting the information to us.”

These engagements include outreaches and training across the country.

Through an MOU signed with the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA), the unit has also been able to provide the entity with financial information to assist investigations.

He said FIU’s services are utilised across the intelligence sector and the unit works closely with several competent authorities including the GRA, Central Bank and the gaming authority. (Extracted and modified from Department of Public Information)

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