During a 2019 RGP investigation by the Money Laundering Investigation Unit (MLIU), various high valued Rolex watches were seized during the search of several properties.
Further enquires conducted by the MLIU revealed that some of these watches had been purchased from a local retailer in Main Street. Subsequent investigations revealed that just one of these watches had been bought for €29,000 in cash.
Yesterday, (Thursday), Albert Desoisa (54) the retailer’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer was convicted by the Magistrates’ Court of failing to conduct proper due diligence in relation to this purchase and was fined £8,000.
The offence relates to requirements set out in the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to prevent money laundering. Mr. Desoiza was found not to have conducted sufficient due diligence to confirm the identity of the person handing over the cash or the source of those funds.
Detective Chief Inspector Tunbridge of the RGP’s Economic Crime Unit said, ‘The Proceeds of Crime Act not only makes money laundering an offence but it also puts legal obligations on people selling high value goods and accepting cash for those purchases. POCA also places obligations on companies to train their staff to understand what money laundering is, in what circumstances their suspicions of money laundering could be raised and what they must do in these situations. In addition, they are required to appoint someone to be their Money Laundering Reporting Officer.
‘Businesses cannot just accept cash in the belief that it is not their problem where the money comes from. It is their problem in law to carry out enough due diligence to satisfy themselves that the funds are not derived from criminal activity. Prosecutions will be brought against those that do not fulfil their obligations.’