Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says this country had been providing assistance to United States authorities since 2014 as it relates to the indictment in that country of Paul Manafort, the former chairman of the US President Donald Trump election campaign team.
Manafort and his long-time associate, Rick Gates, were on Monday slapped with money laundering and tax evasion charges.
According to the indictment, between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of work in Ukraine.
In order to hide Ukraine payments from US authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, the defendants laundered the money through scores of US and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts, opened by them and their accomplices in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Seychelles.
Prime Minister Gonsalves in an exclusive interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) said that on assuming office in 2001, his administration revamped “very strongly” the laws in relation to the proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering, establish a Financial Services Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) “which is arguably one of the best in the Caribbean.
Dr. Gonsalves told CMC “we have cooperated fully” and reiterated the joint position outlined by the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit in his country denouncing the description of the island as being “notorious for money laundering” and a “prime money laundering destination”.
He noted that the local authorities have been cooperating with the United States “and St. Vincent and the Grenadines has not done anything other than act quite properly in this matter.