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Antigua Among Caribbean Nations To Make Major Money Laundering List

CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. Mar. 2, 2010: The Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda is among six Caribbean nations to make this year’s `Major Money Laundering List.`

The U.S. State Department on Monday listed the island, which was cast into the international spotlight last year as the U.S. Securities and Trades Commission charged former resident and knight, R. Allen Stanford, among the top list of territories of concern for money laundering.

The U.S. report claimed that while `Antigua and Barbuda has comprehensive legislation in place to regulate its financial sector it remains susceptible to money laundering due to its offshore financial sector and Internet gaming industry.`

The report said illicit proceeds from the transshipment of narcotics and from financial crimes occurring in the U.S. also are laundered in Antigua and Barbuda.

`Noted money laundering problems in Antigua and Barbuda appear to be generated by schemes involving investment fraud and advance fee fraud,` added the report.  `Drug related matters have concerned not only narcotics but other controlled pharmaceutical substances being illicitly distributed over the Internet.`

U.S. officials said continued efforts should be made to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and customs authorities to recognize money laundering typologies that fall outside the formal financial sector, particularly trade-based money laundering.

Other Caribbean nations making the list include the Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Haiti.

In The Bahamas, the U.S. claims money laundering trends include the purchase of real estate, large vehicles and jewelry, as well as the processing of money through a complex web of legitimate businesses, and international business companies registered in the offshore financial sector.

In Belize, the U.S. report claims that suspicious transactions are reported, primarily by banks and credit unions that is related to money laundering while in the Cayman Islands, money laundering is primarily related to fraud and drug trafficking.

Financial institutions in the Dominican Republic were cited for engaging in currency transactions involving the proceeds of international narcotics trafficking.

The smuggling of bulk cash by couriers and the use of wire transfer remittances are the primary methods for moving illicit funds from the United States into the DR, the U.S. report said.

Haiti, the final Caribbean nation which made the major money laundering list for the region, has its money laundering activity linked principally to narcotics trafficking and kidnapping, according to U.S. officials.

`Banks and casinos, as well as foreign currency and real estate transactions, facilitate money laundering and other financial crimes,` said the report.