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     Financial Intelligence Unit
 
         

Financial Intelligence Unit - Taking the Profit out of Crime

Message from the Director

Money laundering is a serious international issue. St Vincent and the Grenadines has joined countries around the world to attack money laundering and those who would seek to benefit from this criminal act.

A Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has now been established in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The functions of this specialized agency include receipt and analysis of suspicious transaction reports and the investigation of money laundering and other serious financial crimes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Headquarters, Kingstown

As the inaugural Director of the FIU, I intend to lead the agency in fulfilling its functions under the FIU Act and in making an impact in the fight against money laundering, not only locally and regionally, but also internationally.

Our vision is to have financial and business sectors that are free of money laundering and other major financial crime. To achieve this goal we will work closely with financial institutions and relevant business entities that are required to report suspicious transactions to the FIU. The financial institutions in St Vincent and the Grenadines have a key role to play in the fight against money laundering and in ensuring that the country’s financial system is seen as a sound and healthy system, which is conducive to investment. The staff of the FIU is ready to assist the financial and business sectors to fulfill their anti-money laundering obligations.  

The FIU is working in close partnership with other national agencies to ensure that the country has a comprehensive anti-money laundering system that identifies and effectively addresses suspected illegal activity. 

The FIU is also committed to active cooperation with foreign FIUs and law enforcement agencies against money laundering and terrorist funding. We understand and appreciate the global nature of money laundering and other financially based crimes and we will continue to strengthen our cooperative effort, both in the Caribbean region and in the wider international community.  

The intent of the FIU is to put the criminals out of business by draining their resources: to take the profit out of crime.  

The section below is designed to give you an overview of the role of the FIU of St Vincent and the Grenadines in dealing with the scourge of money laundering.

Grenville Williams
Director (Ag.), Financial Intelligence Unit
 

Who We Are

 The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was established in May 2002, pursuant to the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2001. We are the national central agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of suspicious transaction reports.

The FIU comprises a Director, a lawyer, an accountant, three police officers, three customs officers, a consultant/technical advisor, and support staff.

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Our Functions

Functions of this specialized agency are mandated in the FIU Act and include:

  • receipt and analysis of suspicious transaction reports that are required to be made under the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, Act No. 39 of 2001;

  • collection of information from financial institutions and other relevant bodies for the purposes of investigating relevant offences;

  • investigation of relevant offences;

  • dissemination of information;

  • international cooperation in the exchange of financial information;

  • awareness raising and education of financial and business institutions on their obligations to detect, prevent and deter money laundering and associated offences; 
     

Our Legislation

St Vincent and the Grenadines has implemented a package of legislation aimed at detecting, preventing, and prosecuting money laundering and other serious crimes as well as confiscating the profits of crime. The legislative measures reflect international best practices and take account of the 40 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering and the 19 Recommendations of the Caribbean FATF.

The relevant laws are:

  • Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, Act No. 45 of 1993

  • Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, 2001

  • Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Regulations, 2002

  • Financial Intelligence Unit Act, 2001

  • Exchange of Information Act, 2002

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Obligations on Financial and Business Institutions

Section 46 of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act imposes certain obligations upon financial institutions and relevant businesses (the latter are defined by Schedule 1 of the Act). The Regulations to the Act expand on these obligations.  

Financial institutions and relevant businesses are legally required to report suspicious transactions to the FIU. What is suspicious is explained by section 46 (2) of the said Act.

Failure to report a suspicious transaction is a criminal offence.
Failure to comply with the Regulations is also a criminal offence.  

Money Laundering Prevention Guidance Notes have been prepared to assist financial and business institutions to know and understand their obligations relating to our anti-money laundering laws.


International Cooperation

The FIU is committed to active cooperation with foreign FIUs and law enforcement agencies to add value to intelligence and the investigation of suspected money-laundering offences and other financial crimes.

We are seeking membership of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. That Group is focused on training and development, and efficient exchange of financial intelligence. Our FIU would benefit greatly from the training opportunities offered by the Egmont Group. As a member we would aim to be an active contributor to the Egmont Group and any sub-group in the region. Membership would increase our network of contacts, further enhancing the role we can play at the international level.  


Key Milestones to Date

  • December 2001 - Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2001 came into operation.

  • December 2001 - Financial Intelligence Unit Act became operative.

  • May 2002 - Financial Intelligence Unit established.

  • May 2002 - Police members fully accredited as financial investigators.

  • August 2002 - Financial Intelligence Unit moves into new purpose designed accommodation. 

  • September 2002 - Money Laundering Prevention Guidance Notes finalized


Contact Details:

Financial Intelligence Unit
P.O. Box 1826
Kingstown
St. Vincent & the Grenadines, W.I.

Tel: 01-784-451-2070
Fax: 01-784-457-2014
email: svgfiu@vincysurf.com

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