Imbert: $6b in suspicious transactions in 2023

Finance Minister Colm Imbert - File photo
Finance Minister Colm Imbert - File photo

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) received 950 suspicious transaction reports/ suspicious activity reports (STRs/SARs) last year.

"The total monetary value of the 950 STRs/SARs received amounted to $5,954,472,732.00 of which 784 (TT$1,392,564,730) were completed transactions and represented a 12 per cent decrease when compared to the previous reporting period (in 2022)."

He added that 226 of the STRs/ SARs were attempted transactions with a total monetary value of $4,561,908,002.00.

Imbert said this also represented a significant increase over the previous reporting period.

He made this disclosure when he laid the FIU's 2023 annual report in the House of Representatives on Friday.

The STRs and SARs were submitted by entities which are required under law to report them to the FIU.

Within these entities, Imbert said, "The banking sector continues to record the highest number of STRs/SARs, accounting for 60 per cent of the total STRs/SARs received."

This, he continued, was followed by the money or value transfer services sector and co-operative societies, which accounted for 23 per cent and eight per cent of the total STRs/SARs received, respectively.

Imbert said last year, the FIU noted "A 21 per cent decrease in STRs/SARs submissions from the banking sector and a notable increase from finance companies, from three to 29 or an 867 per cent increase, when compared to the previous reporting period.

He added that the FIU saw a 250 per cent increase in STRs/SARs submissions from private members’ clubs and a 25 per cent increase in the same submissions from motor vehicle sales.

The FIU analysed 523 STRs/SARs.

Imbert said this generated 60 intelligence reports.

Of this number, he continued, 51 were suspected money laundering cases while the remaining nine were suspected financing of terrorism cases.

Imbert said, "Of the 60 reports generated and subsequently disseminated, 35 were spontaneous disclosures."

Of the 35 spontaneous disclosures, he said 26 were submitted to local authorities while nine were shared with foreign law enforcement authorities and FIUs.

Last year, the FIU received 13 requests from foreign authorities, which featured 38 subjects.

Imbert said, "The suspected criminal conduct in the majority of cases was money laundering-related."

On these matters, he continued, the FIU made 18 requests to foreign authorities for financial intelligence and information.

"The requests comprised 32 subjects and involved suspected fraud, money laundering and other predicate cases. Requests received from foreign authorities originated mainly from the Americas, followed by the Caribbean and Europe."

Imbert said the FIU has identified certain areas from which STRs/SARs could be generated.

They include the illegal wildlife trade, romance scams and social engineering tactics.

In its report, the FIU said the high-value, low-risk nature of the illegal wildlife trade appears to be lucrative to local perpetrators with well-established legal and illegal cargo routes and porous borders.

Between 2018-2023, the total value of the trade-in TT was $1,512,000.

Among the main animals smuggled through the trade are bullfinches, capuchin monkeys and African grey parrots.


"Imbert: $6b in suspicious transactions in 2023"

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