The Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (FIU) is warning members of the public about unauthorised sharing of critical information on financial crimes, which could hurt any legal action that could be taken, or even jeopardise the safety and security of persons involved in those cases.

In an official statement released on Monday, the FIU reminds the public and all stakeholders that contravention of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, as well as the Proceeds of Crime Act, concerning financial crimes, could see those responsible for the breaches face fines, as well as imprisonment.

The full text of the FIU’s statement, follows…

“The  Financial  Intelligence  Unit  of  Trinidad  and  Tobago  (the  FIU)  continues  to  comply  with  its  legal obligations to keep confidential all intelligence and information gathered in the execution of its functions.

The  FIU  further  underscores  to  the  public  and  all  stakeholders,  the  importance  of  confidentiality  in combatting money laundering, financing of terrorism and other related crimes.

Pursuant to Section 23(1) of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, Chap. 72:01, any person other than an FIU officer, who, in the course of his business obtains or receives information from the FIU, and knowingly discloses the information to any person, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for three years.

Furthermore, “tipping off” is absolutely prohibited under law.  Sections  51 (1)  and 53 (2)  of the Proceeds of Crime Act, Chap. 11:27,  makes a  person  liable  on summary conviction to a fine of five million dollars and  to imprisonment of five years  if  he  knows or suspects  that a Police Officer is acting or proposing to act  in  connection  with  an  investigation  or  proposed  investigation  concerning  money  laundering,  and discloses  to any other person,  information  or other matter which is likely to prejudice that investigation or proposed investigation.

Apart from committing the above-mentioned offences, unauthorised disclosure may jeopardise personal safety and security of individuals, negatively affect both personal and business reputations.

The public is asked to be guided accordingly.”