Beneficial Owners: UBO : The True Owners : Anti Money Laundering Compliance

”The natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a customer and/or the natural person on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted. It also includes those persons who exercise ultimate effective control over a legal person or arrangement.”1
A lack of clarity over who is the ultimate beneficial owner of a company or asset clouds the ability of banks and financial institutions to carry out these checks effectively, leaving them exposed to facilitating corruption or bribery, or unwittingly funding illegal or terrorist activities. The regulatory cost of such activities can include large fines and personal prosecution for directors of financial institutions.2

Beneficial ownership identification and verification is now an essential component of the client KYC on boarding process.3
The beneficial owner is the natural person who controls an account or who exercises ultimate control over legal arrangement or who benefits from the transaction.
Although title to property or money is in another name, the beneficial owner will ultimately benefit from the transaction at the end of the day.

Why would an individual choose to be the beneficial owner?
i)Privacy-In Trinidad and Tobago, the Companies Registry and Deeds Registry are public records and the names and addresses of directors can be easily searched, once the relevant fees are paid. High net worth persons and famous persons may not want their home address available on public record.

ii)Asset Protection-Wealthy individuals who are exposed to lawsuits, divorces or those involved in Money laundering (ML) or Terrorist Financing (TF) may not want to be associated with bank accounts or assets. Funds in the bank accounts of persons suspected of Ml/TF may be seized in Trinidad.
Scandals involving Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

The Panama Papers were published in 2016. They were essentially archives of a Panamanian law firm. These archives revealed the beneficial ownership of several thousands of offshore corporations. It seems that some beneficial ownership was hidden for nefarious or illegal motives. 4
Unaoil, a Monaco-based firm registered in the British Virgin Islands and its subcontractors allegedly bribed foreign officials to help major multinational corporations (MNCs) win contracts. This type of corruption leads to political instability, undermines trust in governments and help terrorists. 5 There is a view that if companies dealing with Unaoil sought insight into beneficial ownership, legal name, tradestyle(s), organizational structure, parent companies, names of all principals/officers and industry.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago and she specializes in Anti Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism . See the website http://asydneygroup.com and Instgram @asydneygrouptt WhatsApp 868 484-7778

References:
1https://www.lexisnexis.de/whitepaper/beneficial-ownership.pdf
2 https://www.lexisnexis.de/whitepaper/beneficial-ownership.pdf

3 http://www.dnb.com/content/dam/english/dnb-solutions/supply-management/UBO-guide-170515_US.pdf

4 https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/beneficialowner.asp
5https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/unaoil-scandal-explained_us_56fbd2f0e4b0daf53aee0cff

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Financing of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The threat of proliferation is significant and the consequences are severe. Proliferation has many guises but ultimately involves the transfer and export of technology, goods, software, services or expertise that could be used in nuclear, chemical or biological weapon-related programmes, including delivery systems; it poses a significant threat to global security1.
Proliferation may be defined as the transfer and export of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; their means of delivery and related materials.2 This could include, inter alia, technology, goods, software, services or expertise. Means of delivery include missiles, rockets and other unmanned systems capable of delivering nuclear, chemical or biological weapons that are specially designed for such use.
What is Proliferation Financing?
The provision of financial services for the transfer and export of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; their means of delivery and related materials.
With respect to the Financing of Proliferation, the following deficiencies were noted by the Assessor in Trinidad and Tobago:
There does not appear to be a comprehensive policy or the completion of such a policy as it relates to the financing of the proliferation of Weapons of mass Destruction in Trinidad and Tobago;
The framework for targeted sanctions related to Terrorist Financing needs to be reviewed;
The sanctions and prohibitions are in respect of freezing funds are not covered in the Anti Terrorism Act;
There is no comprehensive policy on the proliferation of financing of weapons of mass destruction and there is no adequate legislation on this issue;
There does not appear to be a thorough appreciation of the risk of Terrorist Financing amongst the relevant authorities;
There are inadequate resources to effectively investigate and prosecute Terrorist Financing.
References:
1 http://www.fatfgafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Typologies%20Report%20on%20Proliferation%20Financing.pdf
2 S/RES/1540 (2004)
3 http://www.fatfgafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Typologies%20Report%20on%20Proliferation%20Financing.pdf

 

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad. She specialises in AML CFT .

See website : http://asydneygroup.com

Whatsapp 484-7778

 

 

Life is but the shipwreck of our plans

Planning to make a plans. What a life!I agree that goals are important , and yes I believe in the law of attraction . But do our plans turn out the way that we expected? Life can be messy . Relationships end,children leave the nest and sometimes our love is not reciprocated.

Enjoy the mess. Dance when your world is falling apart. Keep your head up. Stand in the rain . Don’t you give up on your dreams.

When you lose control of the ship,the anchor holds. You will be grounded and you will be on land soon.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad. She specialises in AML CFT Compliance .

Website : http://asydneygroup.com

What’s app 868 484-7778

Employee Engagement: How to Maximize Productivity and make your Employees Want to Work?

What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is based on trust, integrity, two way commitment and communication between an organisation and its staff. It is an approach that increases the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being1.
Employee Engagement from the perspective of the employees2

Imagine if an employee can wake up and be excited about going to work. Imagine if he looks forward to sharing great ideas, to working together with colleagues and accomplishing a common goal. That employee would feel as though they are a part of the organisation making a vital contribution to achieving the company’s mission.
Employee engagement is about being included fully as a member of the team, focusing on clear goals, trusted and empowered, receiving regular and constructive feedback, supported in developing new skills, thanked and recognised for achievement.
A work environment that is fair, based on mutual respect is an engaged organisation.

Employee engagement from the perspective of the Employer 3
Employee engagement is about positive attitudes and behaviours leading to improved business outcomes, in a way that they trigger and reinforce one another. Imagine an organisation that runs on employees’ knowledge and ideas to improve products and services and to promote innovation. Imagine a place where your employees can recommend the organisation to prospective employees and boast that the actions of the employer are in line with the values of the company.

Methods of Employee Engagement
Have a tea lady who walks around offering beverages, she can then return to the refrigerator and bring it;
Give employees flexi-time-whereby they can work from home on two or more days per week, for accountability they will log in and log out;
Have a snack or fruit bar full of fruits and snacks for employees to indulge in;
Ask employees about their goals and aspirations and advise them generally on how to move forward;
Show concern for employees who are experiencing difficulties when their spouse or sibling is sick i.e. compassion;
Give employees every other Friday off for personal business, the compromise is that staff will work an additional hour everyday or come in one hour early every morning.
Try to get all employees involved in activities this limits the feeling of alienation.
Employee engagement is about eliciting a deeper commitment from our employees thereby receiving fewer sick leave ,reduction in absenteeism, decreasing accident and incidents rates , limited conflicts and grievances ,and ultimately an increase in productivity 4.
References: 1-4 http://engageforsuccess.org/what-is-employee-engagement

 

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad , she specialises in Anti Money Laundering and the Countering of the Financing of Terrorism. See the website http://asydneygroup.com Instagram @asydneygrouptt Whatsapp 1 868 484-7778

There are no dead end jobs,just dead end people:It is an adventure to be alive

Today is a present. Are you alive or just living ? Bills ,bills ,bills. I wish the person who invented bills will choke on his saliva. Bills are a huge inconvenience to me. But working towards generating funds to pay these bills is fun. In the absence of he responsibility to pay bills,some people may never enter into the workforce. Nevertheless,it is a blessing to be on your way to work. Some people are not economically active. Look at it as a quest. You are on a journey to make money. Do not look at it as going to your dead end job. A wise man told me that there are “…No dead end jobs,just dead end people “. Do not resent your employer,after all  the company is paying your bills,sending your kids to school. For the entrepreneurs out there,think of your job as your investor. I encourage you to view your day as an adventure,just like something I heard in the movie Peter Pan ,the version with Robin Williams.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad. She specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. See the website http://asydneygroup.com .

What’s app 1 868 484-7778

Instagram :@asydneygrouptt

Should you quit your job and focus on your own business: Advice to Entrepreneurs

Nine things to do before quitting your job,to run your business:

1. Ensure that your business generates enough money to pay all your recurrent expenses. Before making the great leap,determine how much money you need to cover all living expenses for each month. Then look at the income already generated from your business ,and see if enough money comes in to take care of your basic needs.

2. Consider finding another job that will equip you with the tools needed to bring more value to your own business.

3.Talk to your spouse to let them know your concerns and your desire to leave your job. This will give them notice,lest they are taken by surprise when you are home all the time. It is also a good time for your spouse to admit if they are similarly thinking about leaving their job.

4.Try to prepay some of your expenses,such as internet,electricity before you quit. This will give you a little comfort knowing that bills are paid.

5. Try to buy wholesale food items and store them. When the hard times come ,you will not go hungry.

6. Clear off major debt ,please be reminded that you can lose your house or car if you fail to make your monthly installments. 

7. Be prepared for uncertainties, business is  in and of itself uncertain. Some months will be feast,and some months will be famine. 

8. Before quitting your job,view your employer as your investor ,your financier,who is paying you a salary which you will then use to finance your dreams. 

9. Follow the proper procedure in resigning,so that you leave on good terms. If the services or products that you offer are in line with those of your former employer,you may conduct business with them.

The author is a Trinidadian attorney at law. She specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. Please see the website http://asydneygroup.com ,whats app 868 484-7778 ,Instagram @asydneygrouptt

The Lunch Hour: The Real Rush Hour

How do you spend your lunch hour every day? I usually take a walk outside some days to see the working class hustle to purchase lunch. They exit their office still wearing their cardigans and sweaters and are make crucial choices. They venture to either a food court or a food establishment to decide. They look at the menus and check their purses and wallets. They take out their cellphones and idly scroll through their social media feeds. They then stand in line, wait their turn and approach the cashier and or server. Their colleagues may be at the same establishment or at another. They purchase their food and of course a drink and feel excited about their taste buds coming into contact with their purchase. The food may be consumed at the eating establishment if seats are provided or the employee may return to the office. The employee makes his way to his desk or to the lunchroom, holding the styrofoam container and beverage bottle. The smart phone is placed on the table and he or she indulges in the food.
Imagine doing this with your lunch hour everyday for the next 5 years. It is true that you are entitled to your lunch hour and you may spend it as you please. But is there a way that you can invest your lunch hour in yourself? My best friend told me that he spends his lunch time looking for lunch, everyday. He told me that he had a certain personal task to complete that would lead to significant personal development, but it was difficult to do during the working day. I suggested that he make use of his lunch hour, but he told me he was busy finding lunch.
From a financial point of view, money that could have been otherwise saved or invested is spent on purchasing lunch each day. Every time that you buy lunch, you pay with a $100 bill. By the end of the week, $500 has been spent on food for lunch alone; this does not take into consideration money spent on breakfast and dinner.
In terms of time management, an hour a day is a terrible thing to waste. I am not in anyway advocating that you work during your lunch hour for your employer. What I am suggesting is that you work on your dream during your lunch hour. Guard your time, it is your life. Every second counts. If you find that you still have a lot of work to do at the end of the working day, then consider analysing everything that you do during the day.
Reasons why I dislike buying lunch:
Food is expensive;
I do not know what ingredients are being used;
I do not know who is preparing the food;
I do not want to spend my lunch time thinking about what food to
purchase;
Regardless of the food that I consume, it will exit my body in the same manner and hopefully, colour.

A good approach is to put your food in the microwave while you use the facilities to relieve yourself. That should take about 3 minutes, then you return to the kitchen and eat for 15 minutes. Naturally, this means that you have to walk with your lunch from home. It does not have to be anything elaborate, it can be simple. You can steam broccoli and carrots in a pot and chunky veges for lunch. You can make a sandwich, pack a beverage and a snack or fruit for dessert. Whatever you consume at lunch time, will leave your body in the same manner. Then you can return to your desk and read about that idea that you conceptualized and research what has already been done on the topic. The question is now, how will you spend your lunch hour ?

About the author:

The author is a lawyer in Trinidad who specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

See the website:http://asydneygroup.com

Instagram : @asydneygrouptt

Whats app :868 484-7778

What does the way you walk say about you?

I have always been teased about the way I walk. I walk quickly, I pass people by on the sidewalks as though a dog I chasing me. I am oftentimes told that I would get a speeding ticket. I simply laugh at these jokes. In response, I say that I am “on a mission”. I could be on my way to class, on my way to the office or about to meet a friend, I walk with purpose.
Increasing your walking pace by 25% was one of the confidence building exercises in the Magic of Thinking Big . The author told of the games his mother played that consisted of watching passersby and observing their walking habits. His mother advised him that there was much to learn from observing the walking habits of people. The author said that psychologists link poor posture and sluggish walking to low self confidence. Psychologists also say that our attitudes can be changed by improving our posture and by increasing our speed of movement.
The author described 3 different groups of people based on their walking patterns. The first group are the “beaten people”, they “shuffle and stumble along through their life”. The second group of people are average and so is their walk, average. The last group of people exude “superconfidence” in the words of the author. These people walk faster than average, there is a sprint in the way they walk. Their walk tells the world “ I’ve got someplace important to go, something important to do”. Moreover, it tells the onlooker that the walker will succeed at anything he is about to do. The author advised that we should “throw our shoulders back, lift up our head and walk a little faster and feel confidence grow.

The author is an Attorney at Law in Trinidad and Tobago. She is an internationally Certified Specialist in Anti Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism and FIU Compliance. See the website http://asydneygroup.com for her portfolio of companies. Instagram @asydneygrouptt Whats app 868 484-7778 .

The power of human….resources,always seek advice

The wise always seek counsel before making decisions. In the manufacturing process of making decisions,the successful person will conceptualize the idea,conduct research then ask about the possible difficulties of the proposed decision. The words of advice received are the raw material used by the successful person to make decisions. 

The successful person understands the power of the human mind. It is an amazing instrument that can be used to solve great problems . Other successful people take delight in offering advice. They must,however be satisfied that the advice will be put to great use . For instance,in the book the Twelve Steps, the character created by Jim Rohn made a game of pretending to be the caretaker of a large mansion and told a middle age man of the 12 pillars of success. 

Please do not keep your ideas to yourself. Seek advice from people who are where you want to be.

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad. She specialises in financial crimes and is a certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist .

Website : http://asydneygroup.com

Facebook page: Sydney Group

Instagram : @asydneygrouptt

Whats app : 484-7778

Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Non Profit Organization (NPOs)

What are non profit organisations?

Non Profit Organisations are organisations that provide a public benefit such as furthering cultural, educational, religious, and professional or public service objectives.

There are three (3) main elements of a Non-Profit Organization;

  1. A mission that focuses on activities that benefit society and whose primary goal is not profit. It is to be noted that these organizations are usually profitable, once revenue exceeds expenses. But instead of re distributing profit to owners/staff/investors, the Non-Profit pursues public benefit purposes recognized and approved by the Ministry of Finance in Trinidad bad Tobago.
  2. No particular person owns shares of the company or interests in the company. The organization is not controlled by one person it is owned by the public.
  3. The income must never be distributed to any directors but is recycled back into the Non Profit’s mission. Non-profits typically depend primarily on grants and mission-related earned income to fund its socially oriented activities.

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF NON-PROFITS

Staff in a NPO consists of volunteers and paid staff, the former usually out numbers the latter. Accounting for a Non Profit;

Non-Profits are focused on ensuring revenue is greater than costs;

Non-profits do not use balance sheets; they will compile a “statement of financial position”, which focuses only on assets and liabilities. Non Profits do not use income statements but prepare a statement of activities each quarter. This document lists the organization’s revenues minus expenses, plus net assets Exemption from taxes;

Non-profit organizations may be exempt from taxation once they are designated as charitable organizations by the Ministry of finance.

Filing of Annual Returns: Non-profits must file annual returns with MLA Opening a bank account- By-laws are extremely important to create here.

What is available on public record ?

The  Articles of Incorporation discloses certain information such as the Name of the Non Profit, number of directors and intended employees, general nature of activities, the address of the principal office, name occupations and addresses of the first directors of the company.

The Mutual Evaluation Report 2016 and NPOs

Although NPOs are required to register with the Registrar General’s Department, there is no proper AML/CFT policy in relation to the management, supervision and monitoring of these entities. There is no targeted risk assessment for these entities nor are there adequate laws to address this which results in insufficient regulation of the sector.

The Assessors in the Mutual Evaluation Report 2016 considered NPOs to be Non Compliant for the following reasons:

  • There are no laws requiring NPOs Sector to be subject to an AML/CFT regime;
  • There is a lack of proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for violations of the standards of NPOs;
  • No evidence of outreach to the NPO Sector concerning Terrorist Financing issues;
  • There have been no adequate policies articulated concerning NPOs;

 

The non regulation of Non-Profit Organizations is cause for concern since these organizations could be used to facilitate ML/TF activity. Since the last mutual evaluation, the Assessors found that there were no AML/CFT measures in place to deal with NPOs. To date, there are still no measures in place to address AML/CFT.

 

NPOs traditionally enjoy an elevated level of trust by society at large. In light of this, NPOs must take precautions to avoid potential money laundering and terrorist financing abuse of the charitable donation process.2 

Money Laundering , Terrorist Financing and  Non Profits Organizations

Non profits can be used to launder corporate money.  “The lack of transparency around NPOs provides the donors with unfettered funding opportunities while letting them hide their identities …”3

Why are Non Profit Organisations susceptible to being used by Money Launderers?

Non-profit organisations (NPOs) are defined by their purpose, their reliance on contributions from supporters and the trust placed in them by the wider community. They often process large amounts of cash and regularly transmit funds between jurisdictions. NPOs have also traditionally operated under less formal regulatory control and generally, a less rigorous form of administrative and financial management. It is argued that the combination of these factors exposes the sector to an elevated risk of criminal and terrorist abuse (Charity Commission 2009a; FATF 2004a, 2004b).4

 

Misuse of NPO funding to launder money

The misuse of NPO-generated funds may take any one of the following forms;

Funds may be collected in the name of a legitimate NPO but disbursed for terrorist rather than altruistic means;

NPOs may be used to launder money or provide legitimate means for the transmission of funds between multiple locations.5

NPOs may provide financial support to an organisation that provides humanitarian aid, for example, but that organisation may also provide succour to terrorist activities.

Alternatively, NPOs may raise funds for a particular cause but have those funds dispensed or support provided through a terrorist group.

Misuse of the notion of charitable status Criminal or terrorist entities may elect to establish a sham NPO (in this case, a charity) but one which is registered and engages in requisite regulatory requirements. The purpose of the NPO is ostensibly to collect and distribute charitable giving but it is in reality a front for the laundering of money, appropriation of terrorism funds or for the rallying support for terrorist activities.

Gurulé (2008) has suggested a general modus operandi for non-profit exploitation, based on sham NPOs in the United States. Such sham agencies were found to:

  • incorporate under state law;
  • apply for tax-exempt status as a charity or other type of NPO;
  • undertake fundraising activities;
  • open domestic bank accounts into which proceeds and donations are deposited; and
  • transfer funds to overseas financial institutions, diverting all or some of the funds to terrorist activity.7

 

 

FATF recommends the following best practices for non profits to prevent  abuse relating to terrorist financing and money laundering 8:

Ensure good governance practices and strong financial management , including robust internal controls and risk management procedures;

Carry out proper due diligence on individuals and organizations that give  money to, receive money from or work closely with your organization;

Enter into written agreements to outline expectations and responsibilities of grantors and grantees;

Undertake internal risk analysis to help better understand the risk you face in your operations and design appropriate risk mitigation and due diligence measures;

Establish strong financial controls and procedures and keep adequate and complete financial records of income expenses, and financial transactions;

Clearly state program goals when collecting funds and ensure funds are  applied as intended;

Ensure information about the activities carried out by grantors and grantees is publicly available;

Ensure you are informed as to the sources of your income and establish criteria to determine whether donations should be accepted or refused.

Non Profit Organisations must be closely monitored in Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere because of the abuse of same by money launderers and terrorist financiers.

The author is a certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist and an attorney at law in Trinidad. Website http//:asydneygroup.com

References:

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/non-profit-organization-NPO.html

2 https://www.baalegal.com/best-practices-for-preventing-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-abuse/

3 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lucy-bernholz/money-laundering-in-nonpr_b_773771.html

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

8 https://www.baalegal.com/best-practices-for-preventing-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-abuse