Financial crimes get more attention

POSTED: 06/27/13 3:31 PM

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten will have to make additional efforts in the fight against money laundering and financial fraud, the Public Prosecutor’s Office writes in its annual plan for 2014. The Caribbean Financial Actions Task force evaluated St. Maarten last year in the fields of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Their findings were none too positive.

In part this can be explained from the fact that the country has to build its detection and control services from scratch because it can no longer rely on support from the now defunct Netherlands Antilles.

“Detection and enforcement activities are extremely limited,” the report notes. This is due to the lack of financial expertise. Earlier this year the Prosecutor’s Office has brought this issue to the attention of Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte and Justice Minister Roland Duncan. This has already resulted in training in the field of financial investigation for sixteen police officers.

The Prosecutor’s Office intends to make agreements with customs, the immigration service and the Coast Guard to increase the detection of currency smuggling. Prosecutors will also maintain close contacts with the MOT – the office that registers and examines unusual financial transactions – and subject as many suspicious transactions to an investigation.

These investigations will also focus on seizing illegally obtained profits. The Prosecutor’s Office will also sign a covenant with the tax inspectorate that is designed to increase the number of investigations into tax fraud.

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