Mauritius | Finances

April 23, 2013

Clairette Ah-Hen, "Why the FSC Has Not Seen the Future Ponzi Schemes"

Under pressure from the discovery of a series of Ponzi schemes in Mauritius, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced more frequent meetings with the Bank of Mauritius and the police. Its Chief Executive , Clairette Ah-Hen, why the regulator of the financial sector did not know.

 Q. Whitedot , Sunkai and Je T'Aime Marketing operated the Ponzi Schemes without arousing suspicion from the financial sector regulators. Is this normal?

I will say right away that in one case, the company is called "marketing" and when you look at what are the activities of all these companies, they have nothing to do with financial services.They are not recorded in Registrar of Companies as financial services companies. Intentionally, they do not want to be on the radar of regulators of financial services.

Then, in their contracts with customers these companies have insisted on confidentiality.

Q. You were not aware of these activities?

There is little we can do if people do not come to bring us information. We can not act against a company that is not licensed to the FSC. We do not have this mandate. By cons, we can say to people, look good, be careful what you are signing. If you do not understand, take advice.

Q. Yet you acted against Nirvi Fund Management Company and Lotus?

It's different. Lotus Fund, as its name suggests it is a base and Nirvi Management decides how to handle the background. They had a license from the FSC. We have acted to protect the interests of customers. It should not be confused with Whitedot and Sunkai . According to news reports, one offered 10% of monthly rate of return on the deposit. Over ten months you receive all of your capital. Similarly, one who brings a client receives 10% commission. This does not work. In Ponzi Schemes , it constantly requires new cash.

Q. When a controller as the FSC does not know what happens next to his office, is she can know what is in the offshore you be the controller too?

First, we are here to give confidence to investors. To tell them, that there is such and such a law and must be respected. The regulator must also comply with the laws all the time. This is what gives confidence to investors. We are a State of rights and the controller is no exception.

Q. We push the issue a little further. As a regulator of the offshore center that is presented in some countries as a tax haven, which gives us the guarantee FSC there is no dirty money, money from a bunch of mafia or traffickers weapons in the Mauritian offshore?

Nobody can give a 100% guarantee. Investors in 1000 you may come across one that circumvents the law. Once again, we are only applying the laws that have been enacted. We ensure that the laws are faithfully enforced. We have set some countries on a "watch list" by the commitments made by Mauritius to the United Nations. We spend much of our time to watch some names.

Q. You delve into the lives of some people?

I do not like that word. We are very careful in some suspects. We monitor information in newspapers and read the reviews and advertisements. If someone alerts us to a person, there is a whole procedure to be followed for verification. We always look at the sources of wealth of a person and funding sources. There is no harm in someone is rich he has worked to achieve it.

On the other hand, the United Nations asked to monitor all those who are politically exposed. We respect the laws of the countries and the commitments made by the countries in the UN.

Q. Are there lessons to be learned with the series of cases that made headlines?

There are always lessons to improve. We redoubled vigilance, even if it meant delaying our activities. In terms of exchange of information, we will have more frequent meetings with the Bank of Mauritius. Instead of seeing us every quarter, it will be every month. We communicate more with the police.

Regarding the search for information, we have increased our workforce. Now we have a larger national effort. In the tourism sector, such as hotels can do more KYC (Know your customer) as do banks. In the financial sector, we will also have a "Money Laundering Reporting Officer." Companies should also consider to have a "Money Laundering Reporting Officer."

Q. Are you satisfied with your partner, starting with the Financial Intelligence Unit?

Whitedot and Sunkai do not have license to the FSC. The FIU will ask why should exchange information on companies that are not licensed in the FSC and on which you have no authority. There are other more appropriate agencies, perhaps the police, because they are criminal activities. It is not within our power to act on companies that do not have license to the FSC.

Q. It seems that the low interest rates on banking products has fostered financial pyramids. What do you think?

In France and England, you have to pay banks to keep your money. In Mauritius and the rate of 4 or 5%. This may seem low, but it is much more than elsewhere. And why does it always make your money grow. You can keep what you have saved for your safety.

You can not always go against the market. I hope that Mauritians are wiser now. But we must pay attention to other systems.

Q Are there other Ponzi schemes?

I think the biggest were discovered. We are on other tracks, but they are smaller.

Q. You are tracking?

A great location, exceptional measures. We all work until very late. The FSC team made a special effort this time, without turning away from its primary objective is to regulate the financial sector.


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