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Don’t let others use your bank accounts, ACP warns

CMC

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 | 9:44 AM    

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THE police have issued a warning for those who allow others to use their bank accounts to facilitate the movement of large sums of money.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Devon Watkis said Jamaica is signatory to several international conventions, which seek to combat money laundering, and those people who allow their accounts to be used could face charges.

“All of those conventions bring some obligation on Jamaica and the financial system, which transmits to the responsibility of the individual citizen," he said.

“It means that all banks are required to know who they are doing business with. If you are a person who joined the bank on the basis that you are earning $10 a week…and all of a sudden you start using your bank account to facilitate $200,000, that would indicate a red flag, and the banking sector has a duty by law to make a report,” he added.

Watkis said that people should be very sceptical when asked to have their accounts used by other persons other than a signatory.

“When you open your bank account, the intention is, you are entering into a relationship with the institution for you, or the other signatory on the account. For you to use it to facilitate others, you are exposing yourself to serious charges; you are exposing the institution to charges.

“Your activity could be deemed as aiding and facilitating, conspiring; all those are serious charges. The issue of money laundering, terrorism financing are things, internationally, that have caused serious problems in terms of helping persons to acquire enough assets to plan activities like 9/11. Worldwide, the financial institutions are called upon to police the system,” he said.

Watkis is also encouraging people who are renting property to be also on their guards.

“I would urge persons involved in the rental of premises to start drawing up formal contracts. That will help you in the event we come and find contraband that allows for forfeiture. Do your own due diligence, check who is renting.

“It will be very embarrassing when you rent a man, and he is on the international most wanted list. It will damage you,” he said.

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