Colm Imbert –

SOME $3.177 billion in suspicious financial transactions were reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIUTT) in the past financial year, Finance Minister Colm Imbert told the House of Representatives in a statement on Friday.

He said it was 1,449 completed deals worth $2.086 billion and 189 attempted deals worth $1.091 billion, or 1,638 deals in total.

The sum of 1,638 suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and suspicious activity reports (SARs) represents an 11% drop in the total number of reports from the previous year, he said.

By far, most reports to FIUTT came from banks at 82%, followed by money transfer services at 7% of all reports filed.

“Of the 1,638 STR/SARs received, 16% or 262 reports were primarily associated with the demonetization of cotton hundred dollar bills due to Legal Notice #357 of 2019

“Of these, 24 reports were submitted by the Central Bank under Section 52 of the POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act.)” A decrease in submissions was blamed on the covid19 pandemic.

The most common reasons for entities sending STRs/SARs to FIUTT were suspected tax evasion (534 people), money laundering (477 people), suspicious financial activity (290 people), fraud (231 people) and exchange control violations (40 people.) These accounted for 96% of the number of reported cases and 98% of the total monetary value of all DOS/SARS.

Otherwise, the report noted a drop in STR/SAR on terrorist financing from 12 to 8 and attributed this to the apparent collapse of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).