Trinidad: New Polymer $100 Notes: ‘Barber’ goes to bank with over $1 million cash

 

(Trinidad Guardian) In the last three days, sev­er­al sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions by du­bi­ous pro­fes­sion­als have been un­earthed in the bank­ing sec­tor as thou­sands of cus­tomers con­tin­ue to rush fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to ex­change their ex­ist­ing $100 bill for the new $100 poly­mer notes.

One sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­i­ty in­volved a bar­ber who walked in­to a bank with $1mil­lion in pa­per-based $100 bills to be swapped for the new $100 notes which the pub­lic be­gan ac­cess­ing at banks on Tues­day December 10. 2019.

The old $100 notes will be­come in­valid on De­cem­ber 31, 2019

The changeover from pa­per to poly­mer is the ba­sis of Gov­ern­ment’s lat­est an­ti-crime plan to flush out crim­i­nal el­e­ments, cut off fund­ing of gangs and take the prof­it out of crime.       

The rev­e­la­tion came from Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert at yes­ter­day’s post Cab­i­net me­dia brief­ing at Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre, St Ann’s.

Im­bert was first to talk about the sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­i­ties, stat­ing that he re­ceived re­ports yes­ter­day that some cus­tomers had been vis­it­ing banks with “large quan­ti­ties of cash.”

Im­bert said some of these in­di­vid­u­als are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to fill out a source of funds de­c­la­ra­tion form “to in­di­cate where they got the mon­ey from.”

If some­one walked in­to a bank with a $1 mil­lion in cash and claimed it was their sav­ings over the years, Im­bert said: “It can prove to be a chal­lenge.”

In cas­es like that, Im­bert said that cus­tomer would be ad­vised to go to the Cen­tral Bank to have the mon­ey ex­changed or to get some con­sid­er­a­tion for the notes.

“We are deal­ing with the is­sues as they arise. As is­sues come up we are ad­dress­ing it,” Im­bert said.

He said com­mer­cial banks and Cen­tral Bank have been work­ing with the Gov­ern­ment.

Young ad­mit­ted that in the last three days banks have picked up in the sys­tem some un­usu­al trans­ac­tions.

“Some of the ex­am­ples would shock any law-abid­ing cit­i­zen of per­sons turn­ing up with sig­nif­i­cant amounts of cash and when be­ing asked about the source of funds some of the ex­pla­na­tions are very dif­fi­cult from a point of view. We have had quite a few in­stances of per­sons turn­ing up and claim­ing to be of pro­fes­sions…you would be very sur­prised to be car­ry­ing around $1 mil­lion in cash and there­about. Some with more than $1 mil­lion in cash.”

Pressed by re­porters to give ex­am­ples of peo­ple claim­ing to have “pro­fes­sions” and had showed up at banks with large sums of cash in ex­change for the $100 poly­mer note, Young said he could not di­vulge much as the state’s se­cu­ri­ty ser­vices and heads of se­cu­ri­ty at his min­istry have been work­ing on in­tel­li­gence and gath­er­ing cer­tain in­for­ma­tion.

“We had some ridicu­lous ex­am­ples of per­sons go­ing to le­git­i­mate busi­ness­es plac­ing or­ders in cash and then can­celling the or­ders when it is time to col­lect and say, well, give me a cheque in­stead. Per­sons are turn­ing up at the banks try­ing to cash hun­dreds of thou­sands…. mil­lions of dol­lars in some in­stances….telling us it is a very du­bi­ous pro­fes­sion as to where the mon­ey came from,” he said.

Young cit­ed an in­di­vid­ual who iden­ti­fied him­self as “a bar­ber with over $1 mil­lion in cash. That is a very ex­pen­sive set of hair­cuts. Again, I am not cast­ing any as­per­sions.”

He said they al­so re­ceived re­ports that some in­di­vid­u­als had pur­chased large quan­ti­ties of gold and for­eign-used cars with the old $100 bill to get it off their hands be­fore the mon­ey be­comes in­valid by year’s end.

In the study of what they ex­pect­ed, Young said it is with­in the am­bit of the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice and Cus­toms and Ex­cise when faced with in­di­vid­u­als with large sums of mon­ey “who can­not pro­vide a prop­er ex­pla­na­tion as to how they ac­quired the mon­ey” or “have sus­pi­cion on the pro­ceed of crime” that they car­ry out an in­ter­ro­ga­tion process, and if not sat­is­fied with their an­swer, a seizure takes place and then it goes to court.

“That is be­ing em­ployed across the coun­try.”

Young could not say how many trans­ac­tions were flagged since banks be­gan ex­chang­ing the old for the new notes.

He al­so re­vealed there were in­stances of banks pick­ing up coun­ter­feit $100 bills.

Young re­mind­ed the pop­u­la­tion that mon­ey laun­der­ing was a crim­i­nal of­fence and any­one who fa­cil­i­tat­ed mon­ey laun­der­ing can al­so be charged.

The Gov­ern­ment, he said, did not cre­ate any new law to the amend­ment the Cen­tral Bank Act to have the de­mon­eti­sa­tion process done, point­ing out that the Ex­plain Your Wealth Bill was passed months ago to take the prof­it out of crime which they have been clamp­ing down on.

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On December 14, 2019 at 3:56 am

    Interesting …good idea !

    In UK banks any transaction over £10.000
    is thoroughly investigated as national banks
    must inform
    Central banks of the transaction.
    Step in right direction.
    International transfers are more pragmatic
    with the intro of crypto currency.
    City of London now little Switzerland
    Money launderers of the planet

    Go figure

    Kamtan uk

  • Trevor  On December 14, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Trini man tell me that gangs can bypass this law by buying luxury goods, and buying Venezuelan women like cattle to work in the rum shop. These anti-crime laws only affect the law-abiding class.

    The UK and the Five Eyes countries have so much surveillance, but it doesn’t stop an Arabian Prince or dictator from buying a mansion in London or France.

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