Saturday, 11 June 2011

'Money changers' shops raided in FSC operation

(Photo: The Gibraltar Chronicle)
GIBRALTAR (GibChronicle) Police raided nine premises yesterday and arrested 17 people in a clampdown on alleged illegal moneychangers. Most of the premises were small shops in the area of Irish Town and Ocean Heights, though at least one other site was targeted, too. Just after 1pm, uniformed and plainclothes officers of the Royal Gibraltar Police swooped down on the shops and sealed them off to protect evidence. The operation was carried out jointly with the Financial Services Commission, whose chief executive Marcus Killick was also at the scene.>
"Unlicensed bureaux are not only in breach of the criminal law itself but also represent a risk to the reputation of Gibraltar as they are highly vulnerable to being used by those engaged in money laundering," Mr Killick said.

"Whilst licensed bureaux are subject to anti money laundering obligations and are supervised by the FSC, no such controls exist in respect of unlicensed operators."

The 17 persons were arrested on suspicion of having committed offences under the Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act 1989.

All were being interviewed and were to be released on police bail while investigations continue.

Police Commissioner Louis Wink said further arrests could not be ruled out and that other issues unrelated to financial services were also being looked at.

Mr Wink underscored the "excellent cooperation" between the FSC and RGP and said he was pleased with the results of the joint operation.

Mr Killick echoed that position and said: "We are deeply appreciative of the work of the RGP in heading up the operational aspect of today's events."

"This is another example of the close cooperation between the FSC and the RGP in areas of mutual interest."

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