PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Anti-corruption Task Force (TBO) searched two business premises on Sint Maarten under supervision of the judge of instruction, today. No arrests were made.
Both businesses are suspected of conducting international money transfers, also referred to as money remittance, without being licensed by the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) to provide such services. According to Article 2, section 1 of the National Ordinance on money transfer offices, it is prohibited to operate a money remittance office without a license from CBCS. It is also suspected that both companies did not report unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
In this phase of the investigation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office assumes that both companies operate independently of each other.
Today’s searches result from the significant social implications of such practices. Non-compliance with the relevant regulations result in economic damage for Sint Maarten. Money transfer offices which, presumably, operate without the relevant license 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 Sint Maarten’s financial system.
The Anti-corruption Task Force (TBO), specializes in the investigation and prosecution of corruption and undermining financial and economic crime. The team’s activities include investigating fraud, forgery and money laundering.