|FIU blocks US tax evasion |
SEAN DOUGLAS Saturday, January 7 2017
AMID the raging debate on TT’s obligations to report tax evasion to the United States (US) under the FATCA legislation, came news yesterday that key details from TT’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) to lead to the conviction of a Florida resident for tax evasion and wire fraud.
So said the FIU Annual Report 2016 laid in the Lower House yester- day. In her Director’s Statement, FIU head, Susan Francois, said the conviction won in the case of “United States versus Trenton S Somerville” had involved the FIU, IRS, US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
The FIU had also shared information to its foreign counterparts in 38 other instances.
The report said intelligence from the FIU led to the designation of TT national, the late Kareem Ibrahim, as a terrorist after his conviction in the United States for conspiracy to commit a terrorist act at JFK Airport and to the freezing of his assets.
“Thereafter the FIU provided intelligence to successfully list 77 other individuals and entities as terrorists and to freeze their assets including the group known as Al Qaeda in Iraq also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.” Otherwise the report said the most prevalent type of suspicious transaction reported to the FIU was money laundering (174 cases), followed by fraud/forgery (142 cases), suspicious activity (126 cases), drug trafficking (116 cases), financing of terrorism (68 cases), tax evasion (67 cases), human trafficking (15 cases), misbehaviour in public office (12 cases), other (11 cases) and breach of Exchange Control Act (eight cases).
Overall some 739 suspicious transactions were reported worth some $805 million in sum, a doubling in value from the year before. Of this were $456 million in 617 cases of successful money-laundering, and $6.8 million in 68 successful cases of financing of terrorism.
There were 53 attempted (failed) cases of money laundering worth $341 million, and one attempted (failed) case of Financing of terrorism worth $24,018. The total number of dubious deals linked to terrorism was 69 cases, triple that of the year before.
The main source of reports of suspicious deals were banks (284 reports) and money transfer (217 reports), out of 739 reports in all.
The report in its glossary revealed that terrorist financing can come from legitimate sources (such as charitable donations) and criminal activities (such as the drug trade, weapons smuggling, fraud, kidnapping and extortion).