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Illicit proceeds

Filipe Naigulevu
Monday, October 30, 2017

ABOUT $100 million flowing in and through Fiji's financial system are suspected to be illicit proceeds available for laundering.

This is the estimation made by the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of which the illicit proceeds could be linked to tax evasion, corruption, fraud and other financial crimes.

According to Fiji FIU director Razim Buksh, the top crimes in Fiji that generated proceeds for laundering through the financial system were drug trafficking, tax evasion/fraud, deception/fraud, corruption and cybercrime.

"We have put in place measures at national and institutional level to ensure the protection of the Fijian financial system, businesses and Fijians from the abuse of criminals and money launderers," Mr Buksh said.

He said Fiji has had a successful record of prosecution and conviction of money laundering offence for the past 10 years with 21 money laundering conviction cases recorded from 2007 to 2017.

Out of these cases, 29 individuals had been convicted for money laundering, of which two were foreign nationals and 27 were Fijians.

Mr Buksh said the offenders' age were as young as 23 years to 46 years.

"These launderers received imprisonment sentences ranging from 8 years to 13 years.

"The Fijian money launderers come from diverse backgrounds," he said

Mr Buksh revealed that these offenders included three university students, an accountant, an owner of a grocery shop and his wife, senior bank officer, unemployed friend of launderer and a bank teller. Others were an unemployed/housewife, bank settlement officer, owner of jewellery business, bank treasury officer including a Government employee.

Mr Buksh added that a few cases of money laundering cases are currently before the Fijian court.

The total amount of those involved in the money laundering cases are about $25.2m.

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