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Tackling financial crimes in Belize

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A training that looks at standards to operate by when it comes to money laundering and financial crimes continued today in Belize City.  Belize’s Financial Intelligence Unit is the chair of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee and is the host for the training of the Financial Action Task Force. 

A training that looks at standards to operate by when it comes to money laundering and financial crimes continued today in Belize City.  Belize’s Financial Intelligence Unit is the chair of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee and is the host for the training of the Financial Action Task Force.  There are three experts at the training from the Caribbean that is working with the committee in developing a better understanding of financial crimes.  Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte is one of the main participants in the training.

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General of Belize: “We must deal with criminal activity in all its forms and one effective way of dealing with one of the major aspects of it is to make it as near to impossible as we can for an individual to enjoy the proceeds of crime. And please note that money laundering does not have to involve cash or cash equivalents, the transfer of benefit of anything of value in exchange for illegal action or criminal behavior constitutes a predicate offense for money laundering with any attempt to disguise the criminal source of the benefit constituting the additional offense of money laundering. And as if this is not bad enough we now have the added threat of international terrorism. I don’t have to describe to you the substantial changes that have taken place in social interaction patterns in Belize outside of normal working hours since the rise in gang inspired violence and I am not telling tales out of school when I point to the similar patterns in our CFATF member countries and to the reasons behind northern triangle migration to North America. Fortunately for us there is a very strong effort underway to deal with this global problem beginning with the establishment of the Financial Action Task Force (1989) and continuing with the work of the FATF style regional bodies the FSRBs like the CFATF. We now have some very detailed recommendations from the FATF covering the range of actions each national jurisdiction in the global community needs to take and we have a number of defined immediate outcomes that we can use to measure our progress in strengthening our anti money laundering combating, the financing of terrorism frameworks and regimes.”

The participants in the training tally to about sixty persons who are there representing anti-money laundering supervisory agencies, other competent authorities, financial institutions and other supervised entities.  According to the Deputy Executive Director of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, Joanne Daniel, says the training is being guided by international standards.

Joanne Daniel, Deputy Executive Director , Caribbean Financial Action Task Force: “The training over the next two and a half days is with respect to the international standards to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing. It’s to give all participants an overview of what the requirements are in terms of the international standards. It’s as relevant to both public sector as well as private sector individuals because a collaborative approach is critical to any fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing. So the hope is at the end of the day all the participants will have a greater awareness and understanding of what are these international standards and therefore put it in perspective in terms of why they too and why they implement certain measures interns of their daily activities and the job they play in terms of protecting Belize and the global financial sector against money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation financing. Once you understand why you are doing and why you are being required to implement certain measures it helps on how effectively you then implement the measures. So for instance why would the country or why would there be requirements by the supervisors or regulators for financial institutions and DNFBPs to conduct customer due diligence to hold records?  At the end of the day this training is going to link or show the participants ‘these are the international standards’ and the purpose of this is to ensure that if Joanne Daniel is conducting or trying to implement money laundering on behalf of a criminal network and I walk into a car dealership or I walk into a financial institutions the financial institution can gather information on my identity who can then assist your law enforcement, your FIU in terms of tracing persons and then taking necessary action to basically take the profit out of the crime, to destabilize terrorist groups and their supporters.”

The training concludes tomorrow.

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