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Jun 20, 2008

F.I.U. Director says review of F.C.I.B. still ongoing

In an update to a story on Thursday night’s newscast which revealed that a Central Bank report had found First Caribbean International Bank in breach of banking requirements, this afternoon Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Geraldine Davis, confirmed that investigations into the findings are ongoing. The Central Bank report now in our possession is dated October 2005 and speaks to how F.C.I.B. handled large money transactions conducted by employees of the now dissolved Belize Telecommunication Limited. The focus of the investigation is January to August 2005. At the time the telecommunications company was under the control of the Prosser Group and then later, the Government of Belize. The report discloses the methods used by First Caribbean in facilitating the disbursement of cheques and cash withdrawals of large sums of money that range between four hundred thousand and one million dollars. The report goes on to state that “despite the number and size of these cash transactions, F.C.I.B. failed to submit any suspicious transaction reports to the F.I.U.” Responding to that finding, Davis maintains that the F.I.U. is “working on these cases but a determination has not yet been made.’’ As for Prime Minister’s recent comments that First Caribbean would not be charged for any of the alleged violations, Davis told us she was unaware of the P.M.’s statements. However, sources close to News Five say that F.C.I.B. threatened to shut down its Belize operations if any charges were brought against the Bank for failing to report suspicious transactions under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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