U.S. Embassy and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago Partner to Combat Financial Crimes

Chargé d’Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain Margaret Diop and Minister of National Security Gary Griffith
Chargé d’Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain Margaret Diop and Minister of National Security Gary Griffith

Financial crimes investigators and regulators received a boost to their ongoing efforts to detect, deter, and prosecute financial crimes in Trinidad and Tobago with the donation of specialized equipment to investigate financial crimes and the provision of expertise by the U.S. Government. Minister of National Security Gary Griffith and Chargé d’Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain Margaret Diop signed an agreement to launch the Financial Crimes Advisor program in Trinidad and Tobago at a signing and equipment handover ceremony on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at the Ministry of National Security. 

The US-TT Financial Crimes Advisor program enables an experienced financial crimes investigator from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance to mentor the Police Service’s Financial Investigations Branch (FIB), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and TT’s Public Prosecutors in their preparation of financial crime cases for prosecution. 

In support of this program, the U.S. Embassy also donated US$ 38,000 worth of investigative equipment to the FIB and FIU. The equipment includes several Multi-Currency Discriminators which can detect counterfeit currency, optical character recognition software to read scanned documents, cameras for surveillance and evidence collection, and computer equipment. Acting Commissioner Stephen Williams and Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Susan Francois received the equipment donations for their respective agencies. 

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Margaret Diop explained this program will help combat money laundering and prevent funds from being diverted to terrorist organizations. Minister Griffith expressed his sincere appreciation for the continued support of the U.S. Government in addressing critical crime concerns facing Trinidad and Tobago and commented that money laundering investigations are a powerful tool to crack down on criminal gangs by going after their ill-gotten gains. 

The financial crimes assistance program is an example of the many initiatives funded under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative launched by U.S. President Barack Obama, during his visit to Trinidad and Tobago in 2009. In the first four years of the initiative, the U.S. Government has provided more than US$263 million in funding to the region, providing support to Trinidad and Tobago and its Caribbean neighbors in an effort to advance public safety and security, reduce illicit trafficking, and promote social justice.

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