Guernsey’s FIU report underlines continued threat of money laundering 

Guernsey’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has strengthened its approach to AML and underlined the importance of financial data.

Publishing its 2022 report, the watchdog revealed that digital gambling accounts for 76% of suspicious activity reports (SARs) within the region. The report did, however, reveal a reduction in the reported SARs from the previous year stemming from the gambling sector. 

Furthermore, it also detailed that the large majority of SARs from the region were reported to UK authorities. 

The main reason for the reports was suspicions of money laundering, which accounted for 73%. This follows a trend of previous years where money laundering was central to most suspicions.

The FIU also identified a rise in reporting for fraud, false accounting or forgery with a 136% increase in SARs for 2022 (441) compared to 2021 (187). 

As well as this, the report looked at politically exposed persons (PEP), defining PEPs as ‘a natural person who is, or has been, entrusted with prominent public functions in any country, or any close business associate.’

It went on to reveal that ‘in one case, an FSB made a disclosure to the FIU after being approached by Guernsey Police during their investigation into a Guernsey resident who pleaded guilty to dishonestly appropriating charitable donations’.

The group went on to underline the importance of international collaboration in terms of combating fraud and detecting money laundering and corruption efforts. 

The FIU detailed it has: “sent thirty-five requests for assistance to international agencies via the Egmont Secure Web during 2022, compared with thirty-one in 2021. The main recipients were the UK (17%) followed by the USA (9%), Cayman Islands, Cyprus, France, Monaco, Switzerland, and Thailand all with 6% respectively. Another fourteen countries were approached by the FIU during 2022 such as Belgium, Italy, Malta and Sweden.

“Requests for assistance involved various lines of enquiry. For example, requests were sent
to establish whether the Guernsey FIU should obtain further details to assist investigations for that international agency, and whether subjects known to the Guernsey FIU were also known to that international agency.”

It continued: “To date, the FIU has received responses from 57% of the recipient FIUs, of which: 25% of responses advised that subjects were known to the agency in various degrees; 15% resulted in intelligence being shared onward with international or domestic agencies; and 60% of responses revealed that the recipient country did not hold any intelligence of value to the FIU. “It is important for the FIU to liaise with other agencies in order to develop intelligence on subjects of interest or to confirm existing information; this process supports any ongoing FIU outcome/feedback work stream.”