Tuesday 29 September, 2020

FIU gets court order against local business

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has successfully obtained a court order against Varona Limited, in relation to the enforcement of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism deficiencies.

The ruling was handed down by Justice James Aboud on September 6 in favour of the FIU, ordering the listed business to implement a number of measures.

Varona Limited was ordered to:

1. Develop a training plan and provide training for directors and members of staff in accordance with Regulation 6 of the Financial Obligations Regulations (FORs) within two months;

2. Amend its compliance programme to include policies, procedures and controls for the matters prescribed to Regulation 7 (1) and (2) of the FORs;

3. Implement internal reporting rules in support of its compliance programme to mandate employees, who know or suspect that a transaction involves the use of proceeds of crime to report the matter to the Compliance Officer in writing and keep copies of the said report in accordance with Regulation 8 (1) of the FORs;

4. Implement appropriate measures to determine whether an applicant for business or a beneficial owner is a politically exposed person in accordance with Regulation 20 (2) of the FORs; and

5. Implement a system to conduct due diligence on all existing accounts within the next three months in accordance with Regulation 37 of the FORs.

Varona Limited was subject to an FIU Directive issued on July 21, 2015 identifying a number of breaches of the Financial Obligations Regulations and specifying timelines to remedy.

Upon the failure of Varona Limited to comply with the Directive, the FIU, in accordance with Section 18H (8) of the FIU Act, applied to the High Court for an Order to compel compliance.

The granting of the Order further enhances the FIU’s efforts to effectively supervise businesses to ensure compliance with the Financial Obligation Regulations 2010, aimed at the effective implementation of systems and controls for the identification and mitigation of risk for money laundering and financing of terrorism occurring through the listed business sectors.

This is the third High Court Order the FIU has obtained against listed businesses.

However, it’s the first of its kind for enforcement of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism deficiencies against one of its Supervised Entities under Section 18H (8) of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago Act (“FIU Act”) for breaches of the Financial Obligations Regulations, 2010 (“FORs”) as amended. 


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