Be vigilant of money launderers – FIU head warns

DPI, Guyana, Friday, April 5, 2019

Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Matthew Langevine is encouraging the general public to be vigilant of persons involved in money laundering and drug trafficking activities, who solicit individuals to carry out monetary transactions on their behalf.

Director of the FIU, Matthew Langevine.

The FIU head said the unit has been receiving increasing numbers of suspicious transaction reports, from money transfer agencies. It has also been discovered that individuals involved in predicate offences tied to drug and human trafficking and money laundering 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 told DPI in an exclusive interview today.

For 2018 alone, the FIU received 330 suspicious transaction reports, the majority of which came from money transfer agencies. For this year, 120 suspicious reports were made to the unit, a high per cent also coming from the money transfer entities.

“[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.”

Langevine stressed 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.

Twelve intelligence reports have been sent to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

Further to reports from the money transfer agencies, the FIU has also been receiving suspicious transaction reports from a number of financial institutions, 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 Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

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.

Through MOU’s signed with State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA), the unit has also been able to assist the entity with financial information to assist in investigations it was conducting.

He said FIU’s services are utilised across the intelligence sector and we work closely with several competent authorities including the GRA, Central Bank and the gaming authority.

Alexis Rodney.

Image: Kawise Wishart.