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Volume II: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

7 March 2012

Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and relies heavily on remittances from abroad. Haitian organized crime groups are engaged in drug trafficking and other criminal and fraudulent activity, but do not at this time appear to be involved in terrorist financing. While not a major financial center itself, regional money laundering enterprises utilize Haitian couriers, especially via air hub routes to Central America.

The weakness of the Haitian judicial system and prosecutorial mechanism continues to leave the country vulnerable to corruption and money laundering despite improving financial intelligence and enforcement capacity. A positive development in this regard was the naming of a President of Haiti’s Supreme Court in October.

Haiti has one operational free trade zone in Ouanaminthe and two under development in Port-au-Prince. It is believed “contrabanding” (using smuggled bulk cash to buy products which are shipped to South America and sold) could be a problem. There are at least 62 casinos in Haiti, the majority unlicensed; however, online gaming is illegal.

Do Financial Institutions engage in currency transactions related to international narcotics trafficking that include significant amounts of US currency; currency derived from illegal sales in the U.S.; or that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: YES

Criminalization of Money Laundering:

“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes

Legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: NO

Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: NO Domestic: NO

KYC covered entities: All natural and legal persons who, as part of their profession, perform, oversee, or advise operations involving deposits, trading, investments, conversions, or any other movement of capital

Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) Requirements:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 49 from January 1 to October 19, 2011

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 244,297 from January 1 to October 19, 2011

STR covered entities: All natural and legal persons who, as part of their profession, perform, oversee, or advise operations involving deposits, trading, investments, conversions, or any other movement of capital

Money Laundering Criminal Prosecutions/Convictions:

Prosecutions: None

Convictions: None

Records exchange mechanism:

With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: NO

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found here: http://www.cfatf-gafic.org/downloadables/mer/Haiti_3rd_Round_MER_(Final)_English.pdf

Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:

In the spring of 2011, concerns were raised on the effectiveness of law enforcement and customs in the wake of a U.S.-Panamanian law enforcement operation which traced over $100 million in cash arriving annually from Haiti to Panama via scheduled commercial airline flights. Neither the Haitian banking sector nor customs officials at Port-au-Prince’s international airport were aware of these transfers that averaged $25,000 per passenger and over $1 million per flight.

The Government of Haiti (GOH) remains hampered by ineffective and outdated criminal and criminal procedural codes, and by the inability of judges and courts to address cases referred for prosecution. The government should move ahead on the proposed new criminal and criminal procedural codes that would address these problems. The GOH should pass the anti-terrorist legislation that has been submitted to Parliament which would criminalize terrorist financing and allow the immediate freezing of terrorist assets without delay.

Haiti’s AML law is written quite broadly and does not explicitly cover the types of entities addressed in the international standards. Implementation of the current law appears to cover only the banking industry. Financial entities not supervised by the Central Bank and designated non-financial businesses and professions are not subject to supervisory oversight and/or have not received appropriate training regarding their AML/CFT responsibilities. Haiti’s AML law should be rewritten or amended to explicitly detail the types of entities subject to the law, as proscribed in the international standards.

The amount of STRs is extremely low and only the banking sector submits reports. The Central Financial Intelligence Unit (UCREF) is ineffective due to its limited budget, lack of staff training and integrity, broad interpretation of the law, lack of autonomy, and limited access to foreign counterparts’ information. The government should fully fund UCREF and other anti-money laundering entities. UCREF should become fully operational and should seek membership in the Egmont Group of FIUs so that it can effectively share sensitive financial information with its foreign counterparts.

The Haitian government’s assistance to the U.S. Government was instrumental in obtaining, among other charges, money laundering and bribery convictions against several U.S. residents in a scheme involving the use of shell companies and false records to attempt to provide over $890,000 in bribes to Haitian officials.

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Volume II: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

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