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Currency smuggling trend

Tevita Vuibau
Monday, July 14, 2014

CURRENCY smuggling has been identified by the Financial Intelligence Unit as an emerging money laundering trend in Fiji.

The largest case recorded by the FIU and border officials in 2013 involved a combined $76,648.58 in assorted currencies that were not declared by two inbound passengers from the Solomon Islands.

Under the Financial Transactions Reporting Act, travelers must declare if they are carrying $10,000 or above in cash when arriving or departing from Fiji.

One of the passengers inbound from the Solomon Islands was caught with $US18,011 ($F32,434 and other currencies while the other was caught trying to bring in $A21,260 ($F34,163), EUR 3640 ($F8526) and other assorted currencies.

The FIU said there were 16 cases of persons failing to declare currency in 2013 with two individuals given the maximum fine of $10,000 for not declaring their currency in excess of $10,000.

The FIU report also noted that 117 declarations were made by inbound travellers in 2012 compared with 141 in 2013.

A further 318 declarations were made by outbound travellers in 2012 compared with 360 in 2013.

Altogether $22.1million was declared by travellers in 2013 compared with $14.6m in 2012.

Other money laundering trends noticed by the FIU included the use of false identification cards however, this trend is declining.

"The FIU has noted a decrease in the number of cases involving fake identification cards such as passports, birth certificates.

"This is due to some recent measures undertaken by the relevant authorities in Fiji."

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