WILLEMSTAD – FirstCaribbean International Bank in Curaçao has surrendered criminal prosecution by paying a fine of 200,000 guilders to the Public Prosecution Service in Willemstad.
The bank has allowed a foreign customer to transfer a million from his account while it was seized. The money has been recovered and the account holder has since been convicted of money laundering, according to the press release from the Public Prosecution Service below:
The public prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor General of Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (OM) working in the Team Combating Undermining (TBO) has offered FirstCaribbean International Bank (Curaçao) NV a transaction to prevent prosecution. FirstCaribbean International Bank (Curaçao) N.V. (hereinafter FirstCaribbean Curaçao) has accepted this transaction.
Following a request for legal assistance, the Public Prosecution Service seized a bank account at the FirstCaribbean Curaçao in 2015. The account holder of the seized bank account is subject to a criminal investigation abroad, the balance on this seized account was approximately Nafl. 1,000,000.- (one million).
In 2020, an inspection by the Public Prosecution Service revealed that the First Caribbean Curaçao had paid the balance to the account holder without the attachment having been lifted by the Public Prosecution Service. Because the evasion of cases from attachment is a criminal offense, the Public Prosecution Service has launched a criminal investigation against the First Caribbean Curaçao under the investigation name Pyriet.
The Pyriet criminal investigation also showed that the FirstCaribbean Curaçao did not report in time to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Curaçao. According to the National Ordinance Reporting Unusual Transactions, the FirstCaribbean Curaçao is obliged to report financial transactions where there is reason to assume that they may be related to money laundering or terrorist financing. Failure to comply with this obligation is a criminal offence.
After intensive cooperation with the requesting country, it was possible to recover the amount again, this time abroad. The account holder has now been convicted in first instance for money laundering abroad.
Reason for a transaction
After both the Public Prosecution Service and the FirstCaribbean Curaçao became aware of the criminally culpable withdrawal from the seizure, the FirstCaribbean Curaçao asked an external party to conduct an internal investigation. The internal investigation is described in a report and that report has been shared with the Public Prosecution Service. The report shows a thorough investigation and also describes the measures already taken and to be taken to prevent the abuses described.
The subject of the internal investigation was also the failure to report unusual transactions to the FIU in time. The thoroughness of the investigation, its promptness and the internal measures prompted the Public Prosecution Service to offer a transaction.
Content of the transaction
The transaction entails that the FirstCaribbean Curaçao will pay a fine of NAF 200,000. In addition, the publication of this press release is part of the transaction. A side effect of this transaction is that the measures taken by FirstCaribbean Curaçao will mean that more (subjective) unusual transactions will be reported to the FIU in the future and that FirstCaribbean Curaçao will become more resilient against money laundering practices.