Accountants, lawyers still to report to FIU – Director

Accountants and lawyers are yet to begin reporting to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which agency head Matthew Langevine said is due to the absence of an established supervisory authority.

Director of FIU, Matthew Langevine

Attorneys-at-law and accountants/auditors fall within the designated non-financial businesses or professions (DNFBPs) category, under the Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.
Like other reporting entities, they are required to report suspicious transactions to the FIU “only when, on behalf of or for a client they engage in certain financial transactions as outlined under Section 18(11) of the AML/CFT Act 2009 (as amended).”
Such transactions include buying and selling real estate; managing client’s money, securities or other assets; management of bank savings or securities accounts; and the organisation of contributions for the creation, operation, or management of companies.
In a recent interview with DPI, Langevine said the Unit is still working to have attorneys and accountants come on board.
“We have work ongoing currently with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, where there is a consultant working with Guyana to look at the entire supervisory regime existing in Guyana, so that recommendations can be made on what changes can be put in place, so that we have a better supervisory framework over the existing reporting entities and the new ones we want to bring on board,” he told DPI.
With the support of the CFATF, the FIU head is hopeful they could bring the two primary sectors on board in early 2021.
Reports from the two sectors remain critical as Guyana prepares for its fourth round of mutual evaluation by the CFATF, scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. It is vital, too, as money-laundering vulnerability levels for attorneys and accountants/auditors are generally considered high, based on AML/CFT trends globally.
Meanwhile, Langevine said the FIU is again reminding persons to be vigilant and avoid being used to conduct transactions, through money transfer agencies, on behalf of unfamiliar persons.
The FIU continues to see such trends with the money transfer agencies.
“The agencies have been consistent with their reporting those to us, and we have consistently been analysing and sharing with law enforcement. We have also worked closely with the reporting entities, encouraging them to ensure that wherever they expect persons to be completing transactions on behalf of third parties, or where they are not consistent with that person’s financial profile, that those transactions be reported to us at the FIU, or not be completed,” Langevine said.
If completed and suspicions arise, those transactions must be reported to the FIU for investigation, as required by the AML/CFT Act.