The SIC, Lebanon's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), receives, analyzes, investigates suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and ensures compliance of banks, financial institutions and other reporting entities with the AML/CFT regulations.
Belize - Itís a regulation the world over Ė those traveling with more than ten thousand US dollars in cash have to declare it at every border or point of entry. In Belize, that process is very involved, with the traveler having to go to the Financial Intelligence Unit, and then to the airport or border crossing. But now, thanks to a new memorandum of understanding between customs and the FIU, travellers can go directly to the airport or border. Director of the FIU Joy Grant explained how it will work.
Joy Grant - Director, FIU:"Prior to this signing, if you were planning on taking more than what's stated in the law that you can take out without approval, you had to come to the FIU first to get the approval. Due to negotiations on both sides, we have now agreed that the customs and excise department will be able to give that permit at the border points."
Victor Recinos - Comptroller, Customs: "Making reporting easier will make the person that wants to do legitimate trade have life a little bit easier. The cumbersome procedures cause a lot of delays in the business world. If we can minimize that, allow you carry legitimate business, reporting efficient as possible, it will also start pointing out those who want to go into illegitimate activities."
Joy Grant - Director, FIU: "The signing of this MOU demonstrates clearly government's commitment to this fight against money laundering and financing of terrorist actions and of course other crimes. This is a confidence level that we need to get the international community to have in our jurisdiction."
Jules Vasquez: "Isn't this, isn't removing it from under the direct purview of the FIU making the system more vulnerable to lax enforcement?"
Victor Recinos - Comptroller, Customs: "What is important in the financial circle is your source of funds, where you got the money from. If you will be able to prove to customs that your money came legitimately from a bank account, from a legitimate source, you have no problem. If you cannot prove your source of fund, then you will have to be redirected to explain to FIU where you got the funds."
The FIU is negotiating other MOUís with other institutions. Customs says that on average 10 to 12 applications to travel with currency exceeding ten thousand Belize dollars are made per day, and about two to three persons are caught monthly violating the regulation.
Belizeís law will soon be changed to change the limit to ten thousand US, not Belize dollars.