Obtaining assistance from the FIU

If a requesting country requires information regarding matters in St.Vincent and the Grenadines for intelligence purposes only, upon receipt of the request via the Egmont secure web or other means, a formal letter of request is sent to the requisite body on the country’s behalf and the response relayed to them.

If however the information is required for use in Court proceedings, a formal request whether via Mutual Legal Assistance Request or Letter Rogatoire must be sent to the Central Authority of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, the Honourable Attorney General.

This request would then be forwarded to the office of the FIU where we would seek to execute the request, based on its terms whether for the seizure of property or the provision of information in which case we seek to obtain a Production Order from the Court as provided for in our legislation, outlining the reasons why the information is required as provided by the requesting country. If the Judge is so minded, the Order is granted then served on the Institution from whom the information is requested, compelling them to provide the requested information within a certain time period, usually ten (10) days. The information is then sent to our office and we in turn forward it to you.

St.Vincent and the Grenadines provides for mutual assistance in Criminal matters between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries and St.Vincent and the Grenadines by way of the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Act No.46 of 1993. The Act covers requests for General assistance in obtaining evidence, Locating or identifying persons, Obtaining articles or things by search and seizure if necessary, Arranging attendance of persons, Securing transfer of persons, Serving documents, Restriction on use of evidence, Immunities and privileges. Assistance in serious offences covers Tracing property, certain orders and obtaining orders in nature of Restraining Orders.

St.Vincent and the Grenadines has been party to a Bi-Lateral Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters with the United States of America since 1998. This Treaty has been the basis for the facilitation of numerous Mutual Legal Assistance Requests between both countries.

Another piece of local legislation is the Exchange of Information Act 2008 which states that a domestic regulatory authority of whom a request is made shall not exercise the powers conferred unless, in relation to a request for assistance by a foreign regulatory authority, the nature and seriousness of the matter to which the inquiry relates would warrant the disclosure of the information by a domestic regulatory authority if such information were to be requested in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and one or more of the following conditions are satisfied, namely that, the assistance is necessary for the purpose of enabling or assisting another domestic regulatory authority or a foreign regulatory authority in the exercise of its regulatory functions; the assistance requested by a foreign regulatory authority is pursuant to an agreement to which St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the State of the foreign regulatory authority are parties; the foreign regulatory authority gives a written undertaking to provide corresponding assistance to a domestic regulatory authority and fourth, the State of the requesting foreign regulatory authority has enacted similar laws with regard to the exchange of information.

St.Vincent and the Grenadines’ FIU has signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding with its Regional and International counterparts. However, pursuant to the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, No.38 of 2001, the Act under which the FIU was set up, it is not restricted in the sharing of information to only those FIUs with whom MOUs are signed.