Real Estate Vulnerability

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:25 a.m.


Fiji’s real estate sector is vulnerable to money laundering (MF) and terrorist financing (TF), the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit’s recently released annual report, noted.

The Unit received 516 suspicious transaction reports (STR) in 2015, on an average of around 43 per month, reflecting an increase of 35 percent compared to 383 STRs reported to the FIU in 2014.

Last year, it coordinated the country’s first national risk assessment (NRA).

Amongst its key findings were that the movement of funds in both cash and via electronic wire transfers originating offshore, were a concern as a potential enabler for MF and TF to occur in and through Fiji. This was particularly as the economy shows a gradual shift from cash-base to more reliance on electronic transactions.

“Fiji’s relatively diverse financial sector creates a number of vulnerabilities which can lead to the escalation of MF/TF. The commercial banks are considered to be very highly vulnerable to ML/TF.

“The sectors that were found to be less, but still highly vulnerable were licenses foreign exchange dealers and safe custody facilities.”

All entities and businesses that are covered by the Financial Transaction Reporting (FTA) Act are referred to as “financial institutions” under the law, and include real estate agents, lawyers and accountants.