July 24, 2013

Corruption trend

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BUSINESSMEN continue to use bank accounts of minors to conduct 'business-like' transactions, according to the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit.

In its 2012 annual report, FIU said 38 per cent of suspicious transaction reports on individuals were reported on customers more than 40 years old — 16 STRs were reported on minors aged two to 18.

"This trend has been declining primarily due to the government's new requirement on tax identification number registration for all customers of financial institutions since 2010," the report said.

"Analysis of money laundering conviction cases in Fiji showed that the average age of persons convicted was 32 years."

In terms of money laundering trends, FIU said corruption or laundering proceeds from corruption was an emerging trend.

It said the number of corruption-related cases reported to the unit had increased over the years.

"FIU has received STRs involving former high level government officials as a result of financial institutions monitoring accounts of customers," it said.

"A declining trend would be the use of false identification. FIU has noted a decrease in the number of cases involving fake ID cards such as passports and birth certificates."

It said using nominees, trusts, family members or third parties was a continuing trend and between January and August last year, FIU received 15 STRs involving unauthorised transfers from internet banking accounts.

"These accounts were suspected to be accessed through phishing — fraudulent attempt usually made through email to steal personal information," the report said.

"Third parties were contracted through online job advertisements to remit money received through these unauthorised transfers to overseas beneficiaries and cyber-criminal syndicates."

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