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Oct 26, 2016

New F.I.U. Director Signs M.O.U. with Old Department, Income Tax

The FIU and Income Tax Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding this morning to help domestic cooperation in the fight against money laundering, and countering the financing of terrorism and tax evasion. It is expected that the MOU will enhance existing partnerships and implementation of policies. News Five was at today’s signing.

 

Kent Clare, Director, F.I.U.

“The MOU is intended to heighten the cooperation to more than just formalize what has already been in existence, but it is designed to take the cooperation to a higher level; if we can say that. So, what we hope to achieve here is more than just the FIU under its anti-money laundering laws and the FIU act and so on, requesting information from our counterparts. What we are seeking to achieve here is a more advanced, more organized collaboration specifically on things like the development of legislation. Before we sign, one of the things I need to bring to the public’s attention is the fact that we would hope to develop legislation to criminalize tax evasion in Belize. Currently, as it stands, even though it is an offence under the income and business act, I think that the penalties that are provided are generally of a summary nature; basically, the fine would not exceed anything more than ten thousand dollars as found in the current act. The (FATF) Financial  Action Task Force,  to which the Belize’s FIU is a part of, specifically through the regional organization, the CFATC,  Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, has indicated that tax evasion is a predicate offense to money laundering. So, it is not enough to just say that, you have to demonstrate that by having that kind of validity in your laws.”

 

Kent Clare

Andrea Polanco

“Where it speaks about countering the financing of terrorism, when you look at what we have in place currently, do you think that there is a real threat of that kind of “financing”taking place locally?”

 

Kent Clare

“Absolutely. You will know from one of the views, Belize simply because of its juxtaposition, where it sits and because of it porous borders which is something unfortunately we that we cannot do anything about. This is where we are. Simply, Belize being where we are exposes us to a level of the unknown. It is incumbent on us to monitor and not take anything for granted. Even though we are known as country that we all get along and have a laid back atmosphere. However, the institutions that are our regulators must be careful to protect what we have all enjoyed. Yes. I agree that we have to be focusing on that because the possibility of it happening is certainly there.”

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