The Financial Intelligence Authority was established in October 2003 pursuant to the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Authority Act 2002 and continued its operations under the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act CAP12.20 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia. The Authority acts as the agency responsible for recovering, analyzing, obtaining and disseminating information which relates to money laundering and other proceeds of crime.
The Authority comprises persons having expertise in the areas of law, accounting and law enforcement and is serviced by a secretariat comprising a Director, police officers, customs officers and other support staff.
Saint Lucia has implemented a package of legislation geared towards detecting, preventing and prosecuting money laundering and other serious crimes as well as confiscating the proceeds of crime. These legislative measures are reflective of international best practices and take into account the 40 recommendations of FATF on money laundering and terrorism financing.
The relevant laws include:
The FIA’s functions as mandated under the MLPA include:
Section 16 of the MLPA requires financial institutions and businesses of a financial nature (as defined in the second schedule of the Act) to comply with a number of obligations including the reporting of suspicious transactions which may involve the proceeds of criminal conduct. The unauthorized disclosure to anyone other than the FIA of information relating to a suspicious transaction report and a failure to report a suspicious transaction are criminal offences under the Act.
Money laundering is a serious international issue. The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) which is recognized as the international standard setter for anti-money laundering affairs defines the term money laundering as “the processing of criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal origin” in order to “legitimize” the ill-gotten gains of crime.
The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) acts as the agency responsible for receiving and analyzing suspicious transaction reports and the investigation of money laundering and other financial crimes.
It is the Authority’s aim to fulfil its mandate under the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act (MLPA) in order to assist in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing both locally and internationally and disrupt the lifestyle of career criminals.
In order to achieve this objective, the FIA intends to work in collaboration with financial institutions and businesses of a financial nature which are required by law to report suspicious transactions to the FIA.
The financial institutions in St. Lucia have a major role to play in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing and in helping to maintain the integrity of the financial system in order to create an environment which is conducive to investment.
The FIA staff is an expert resource available for advice or assistance in all matters of financial investigation and is willing to assist the financial institutions and other businesses of a financial nature to fulfil their anti-money laundering obligations.