Unlicensed business transferred money

Operator must pay US$180,000 in civil settlement

The charge of operating a money services business without a licence was discontinued on Friday against Rogelio Alisuag Dio, who had been accused of receiving money from Filipinos in Cayman and then sending it on their behalf to individuals in the Philippines.

Court documents indicate that wire transfers to the value of more than US$5.7 million were sent to the Philippines between 2002 and 2009 through a company operated by Mr. Dio called RV5 Trust Ltd.

Senior Crown Counsel John Masters said Mr. Dio would pay US$180,000 to the Crown, reflecting the profit he had made.

The Proceeds of Crime Law 2008 provides for the civil recovery of proceeds of unlawful conduct, he explained.

Mr. Masters told Justice Charles Quin that this course of action was being taken only after investigations showed that nothing illegal had happened beyond the transactions themselves, which were done without the appropriate licence from the Monetary Authority. The Crown was satisfied there had not been any money laundering or terrorism financing, he indicated.

Mr. Masters warned that the public should not use this case as an indication of how the Crown will treat such matters in the future. In this instance, however, he believed that resolving the matter by way of civil recovery best reflected the public interest.

The Recovery Order, to be signed by the Crown and the defendant, included a case summary. It indicated that the charge for the money transfer service was about 4 per cent. Further, Mr. Dio “would often forward money to the Philippines on behalf of persons that were unable to pay him until some time later, such as payday at the end of the week or payday at the end of the month.”

The matter came to the attention of police when a suspicious activity report was received.

Mr. Masters advised the court that Mr. Dio, 67, was a man of good character.

Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey said he hoped this would be the end of the matter. He had represented Dio since the matter first came to court in June 2009. At that time he questioned whether the Summary Court had jurisdiction to hear it, as there is a six-month time limit for bringing summary-only charges. He understood investigations had been going on since 2007.

Mr. Dio was initially charged under the Money Services Law. In August 2009, RV5 Trust Ltd was charged with obtaining money transfers by deception — by representing that he was entitled to wire transfer funds when in fact he was illegally running the unlicensed business. That charge was bought under the Penal Code and the matter was subsequently taken to Grand Court.

After their Grand Court appearance on Friday, Mr. Dixey and his client attended Summary Court, where charges including working without a permit were dismissed. Mr. Dio, a retiree, has permanent residence without the right to work.

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