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251 citizens suspected of financing terrorism
A significant increase in suspicious transactions related to financing of terrorism was reported to local and international law enforcement agencies by the Financial Intelligence Unit of T&T (FIUTT) in the past year.
The FIUTT said that between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017, 112 of the 877 suspicious transaction reports/suspicious activity reports (STRs/SARs) detected were related to suspected financing of terrorism—up by 62 per cent from the previous year.
These were highlighted by director Susan Francois in the FIUTT’s Eighth Annual Report which was posted online by the Ministry of Finance yesterday.
“To date, the FIUTT’s intelligence reveals 251 citizens of Trinidad and Tobago suspected of being involved in the financing of terrorism and related offences,” Francois said.
“The FIUTT completed analysis on 647 of the 877 new cases received which generated 182 operational intelligence reports, of which 136 related to suspected money laundering and 46 related to financing of terrorism. Of these reports, the FIUTT sent 140 to local law enforcement authorities and 42 to foreign law enforcement authorities and foreign FIUs.”
Francois said the FIUTT has developed three strategic intelligence reports—Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their Facilitation Networks in Trinidad and Tobago, Real Property Fraud and Fraud in the Insurance (motor vehicle) sector—which have been shared with local and foreign law enforcement authorities, FIUs, regulators and other reporting entities. The report on foreign terrorist fighters recommends action to build intelligence and investigative capacity, prevent radicalisation and other deterrents.
According to Francois, 176 money laundering charges involving $7.2 million were laid against seven individuals.
“The criminal conduct which led to the money laundering charges were illegal gambling, fraud, larceny and drug trafficking,” she said.
In addition, the Attorney General petitioned the High Court to designate several individuals and entities as terrorists and to freeze their assets.
Francois said the 877 STRs/SARs detected were a record number and an increase of 19 per cent from the 739 in the previous reporting year. The monetary value was more than $22 billion in suspected proceeds of criminal conduct.
She said: “This is an unprecedented increase because the cumulative monetary value of suspicious transactions reported for the previous five years of 2011 to 2016 was only $4.5 billion.
“Of the 877 STRs/SARs, 94 per cent were completed suspicious transactions with a monetary value of $8.4 billion while six per cent were attempted transactions with a monetary value of $13.6 billion.”
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