Keeping your account officer on the right side of the fence
is prerequisite for hassle-free banking.
Providing an explanation for any "unusual" financial transaction
beforehand -- before your banker starts wondering -- is essential if you wish
to avoid being reported.
But it should not be a one-off matter. Those who enjoy hassle-free banking
know that today's bankers need regular attention and frequent reassurance that
account transactions fall within the guidelines set by the FATF.
Pay attention, stay in touch,
seize your opportunities
It is irrelevant how you keep your account officer informed, as long as you
do it, and do it whenever an opportunity arises.
Don't just talk about amounts and account numbers. Talk about your business,
your reasons, and your goals, and do it often. A number of short, casual remarks
made at every possible opportunity, whether by phone, fax, or in person, work
better than a long, manufactured presentation delivered at the odd formal meeting.
The key is to ensure that your account officer feels that you are interested
in maintaining a good, long-term banking relationship. The key is to ensure
that he feels comfortable knowing what you are doing.
Remember, others are telling him to be suspicious of everything you do. It's
you against them, and he's in the middle.
Fail to keep him happy, and he'll turn to the other side in search of comfort.
He will not be penalised if he reports an innocent person -- but he will lose
his job or worse if he fails to spot a money launderer.
Fail to keep him happy, and he'll be clicking "Report" where he could
have clicked "Cancel".
Computer software is now operational in most banks to aid in the detection
of unusual account transactions. Unless you actually tell your banker otherwise,
a legacy from a will, the repayment of a debt, the proceeds from a sale or any
other legitimate but large or otherwise "unusual" remittance to an
everyday account may trigger an automated alarm and you may be reported to your
Intelligence Unit as a possible money launderer.
And once the automated STR
gets sent, it might be too late to reverse the process of bureaucracy.
A closer look at your tax returns may follow. Your assets might get frozen.
As a suspected wrongdoer, you might even be placed under police surveillance
or have your telephone tapped. Assumed guilty
until proven innocent, it will be up to you to produce the evidence that
your money is of non-criminal origin.
Whatever the final outcome, your government will forever hold a file stating
that you were once suspected of money laundering.