The latest report of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has revealed that in the last year, some $22.5 billion in suspicious transactions were made.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the monetary value of these transactions ballooned from $4.5 billion in 2016 to $22.5 billion this year. This equates to an increase in suspicious transactions/activities from 739 in 2016 to 877 in 2017.
Al-Rawi said the FIU had discovered some politically exposed persons being involved in these activities. The AG listed sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, children and cohabitants of people who have vertical and lateral relations to people who serve in public life, in this group of people. Al-Rawi said all of this information is contained in an FIU report.
He said the report will be laid in Parliament in January. Describing the contents of the report as astounding, Al-Rawi added, “The number has gone up effectively by five times. There has been a 500 percent increase.”
The AG said of the 877 activities, 824 were completed and represent a value of $8.5 billion. However he said the remaining 53 were stopped as a result of their being reported to the FIU. Al-Rawi said in terms of the financial sector, the banking sector reported 387 suspicious activities. He said money value transfer services reported 325 suspicious transactions. However Al-Rawi said the report suggests there are more suspicious financial activities which are unreported.
Out of 2,502 registrants covered in the report, Al-Rawi said only 658 attorneys, one gaming house, two jewellers and 102 private members clubs are among the entities reporting suspicious transactions to the FIU. Al Rawi added, “This FIU report is anchored in the anti-gang discussion because the suspicious transactions that have been unearthed by the FIU and are being investigated by the TTPS are in the hundreds.”
Al-Rawi said the FIU has called on Government to provide it with operational and legislative support.
He said, from January on wards Government will roll out an anti-corruption package to treat with issues raised in the FIU’s report. Identifying civil asset forfeiture as one of the pieces of legislation within this package, Al-Rawi said some of the legislation will require Opposition support.
He declared, “This kind of fight against money laundering and criminality is something that we have not seen support from the Opposition on.” He gave the assurance that the legislation, which require only a simple majority for passage, will be pushed aggressively through Parliament.
Al-Rawi said the FIU analysed 647 of the 877 activities and generated 182 intelligence reports from them. He said 136 of these reports are related to money laundering and 46 are linked to financing of terrorism. The AG said 140 of the 182 intelligence reports are being investigated by local law enforcement while 42 were sent to foreign law enforcement.
FARIS AL RAWI