Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Guyana

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

Historically weak law enforcement and judiciary systems, coupled with endemic corruption and increasing organized crime activity, contribute to a favorable climate for significant money laundering in Guyana. Although narcotics trafficking and corruption are alleged to be the primary sources of laundered funds, the laundering of proceeds from other illicit activities, such as human trafficking, contraband, kidnapping, tax evasion, and vehicle theft, is substantial.

Guyana is neither an important regional or offshore financial center, nor does it maintain any free trade zones. Guyana’s geographic location makes it an ideal haven for transnational organized crime groups, including human and drug trafficking organizations. It continues to be a transshipment route for South American cocaine and heroin destined for the United States and for cash returning to South America. Smuggling of the precursors to methamphetamine is also a problem. In addition, there are reports indicating the narcotics trade may be increasingly linked to arms trafficking involving Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

While the extent of the hawala system in Guyana is not known, there is a culture of using informal networks to move money between Guyana and the diaspora. For example, it is common to use cash couriers to move large sums of money from Guyana, or to move money using informal familial networks. Unregulated exchange houses pose a risk to the AML/CFT regime in the country, as they also are used both for the exchange of currency and to transfer funds to and from the diaspora. Finally, casinos are legal in Guyana and may pose a risk for money laundering.

In May 2014, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) issued a public statement declaring that Guyana is a money laundering and terrorist financing risk to the international financial system after it failed to amend its AML laws. The CFATF called upon its members to consider instituting countermeasures to protect their financial systems from the money laundering and terrorism financing risks emanating from Guyana.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

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 illegal drug sales that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: NO

criminalizATION OF money laundering:

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

Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES

KYC covered entities: Depository institutions; lending institutions and credit issuers; financial leasing entities; money transfer and exchange services; pawn brokers; guarantors and underwriters; traders of foreign exchange, futures, options, and securities; financial advisers; money brokers; credit unions; portfolio managers and administrators; gaming centers and lotteries; insurance entities; venture risk capital; trusts or company service providers; legal professionals; real estate agents; dealers in precious metals and stones; and registered charities

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 805 in 2012

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 42,635 in 2012

STR covered entities: Depository institutions; lending institutions and credit issuers; financial leasing entities; money transfer and exchange services; pawn brokers; guarantors and underwriters; traders of foreign exchange, futures, options, and securities; financial advisers; money brokers; credit unions; portfolio managers and administrators; gaming centers and lotteries; insurance entities; venture risk capital; trusts or company service providers; legal professionals; real estate agents; dealers in precious metals and stones; and registered charities

money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:

Prosecutions: 0

Convictions: 0

Records exchange mechanism:

With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: YES

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Guyana is a member of the CFATF, a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=343&Itemid=418&lang=en

Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:

The government is highly centralized and hierarchical, with significant decisions requiring presidential or cabinet approval. This system discourages individual initiative and the exercise of individual discretion, slowing money laundering investigations. Although existing AML/CFT legislation gives the financial intelligence unit (FIU) authority to investigate alleged money laundering and terrorism financing, the FIU does not have the resources or capacity to conduct such investigations. The FIU also lacks a developed procedure to investigate suspicious activity reports from financial and other organizations.

A Special Organized Crime Unit was established in June 2014 to investigate suspected money laundering crimes and prosecute persons suspected of terrorism and financial offenses. The unit is not yet fully staffed or operating, though training for the unit has already begun.

The Government of Guyana should designate the relevant authority responsible for asset forfeiture to implement fully Guyana’s existing asset forfeiture laws. The government also should increase its efforts to implement its 2009 AML/CFT legislation. There have been no prosecutions under this legislation.

Guyana should raise the awareness and understanding of AML/CFT laws and practices within the judicial system and in agencies with the authority to investigate financial crimes. Suspicious activity reporting, wire transfers, and customer due diligence regulations should be strengthened and additional resources extended to the FIU. The government should renew efforts to pass legislation enhancing the AML/CFT regime that has failed to pass parliament in recent years.