TBO searches 2 businesses on SInt Maarten

PHILIPSBURG--The Anti-Corruption Task Force TBO searched two businesses in St. Maarten under the supervision of a judge of instruction on Tuesday.
 
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, both businesses are suspected of conducting international money transfers, also referred to as remittances, without being licensed by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) to provide such services. The National Ordinance on money transfer offices prohibits operating a remittance office without a licence from CBCS.
 
Authorities also suspect that both companies did not report unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The Prosecutor’s Office said that at this phase in the investigation, it assumes that the two companies operate independently of each other.
 
No arrests were made as a result of the searches.
 
“Today’s searches result from the significant social implications of such practices. Non-compliance with the relevant regulations results in economic damage to St. Maarten.
 
“Money transfer offices which presumably operate without the relevant licence are unfair competition for money remitters who do comply with legal obligations. In addition, these illegally-operating transaction offices easily create money-laundering vehicles for the proceeds of criminal activities.
 
“This is because the flow of money in the form of cash or cheque is difficult to follow and there is a high risk of non-compliance by unregulated money remitters with the legal obligation to carry out customer due diligence. This compromises the integrity of St. Maarten’s financial system,” said the Prosecutor’s Office in a press release on Tuesday night.
 
TBO is a special unit that focuses on investigating and prosecuting corruption and subversive financial and economic crime. The team’s activities include investigating fraud, forgery and money-laundering.

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