Published On: Sat, Oct 28th, 2023

Bank settles dollar-swiping case for 25 million

WILLEMSTAD — Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (MCB) settled the so-called dollar-swiping case with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for 25 million guilders (close to $14 million). Because of the settlement, the bank will not be prosecuted for its role in this activity.

Between 2007 and 2015 Venezuelans pinned purchases on a large scale outside of their country with special credit cards. “In reality they did not buy anything but in exchange for their payments they received American dollars in cash,” the Prosecutor’s Office states in a press release.

These dollars were worth multiple times their face value in Venezuela.

“This way millions of illegal transactions were conducted with Venezuelan credit cards. It resulted in many falsehoods in the administration of involved companies that did not sufficiently control the origins of the cash dollars. MCB knew that some of its clients in Curacao were involved in dollar-swiping.”

The prosecutor’s office notes that in the past MCB did not play its role as a gatekeeper properly. In 2012 the bank took measures against the swiping and it improved its compliance policy. Its role as a gatekeeper is important for the integrity of the financial system. “As a system bank MCB has a large responsibility to contribute to a fair financial system,” the press release states.

MCB has now given up the profits it made at the time from dollar-swiping. The payment of 25 million guilders will benefit country Curacao.

The prosecutor’s office has taken into account the seriousness, scale and duration of the swiping-activities and it also considered the preparedness of MCB to cooperate with the investigation. The prosecutor’s office is of the opinion that the settlement is satisfactory and that prosecuting the bank for its role will not add anything meaningful.

The investigation into dollar-swiping was labeled Breton. It started in July 2021 under the responsibility of the Central Team of the office of the attorney-general of Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Statia and Saba.

The investigation was conducted under the supervision of the prosecutor’s office by the Detective Cooperation Team (RST), with support from the Dutch combi-team FIOD/Police. Investigators researched whether MCB took sufficient measures more than ten years ago to prevent dollar-swiping by its clients. The earlier investigations Cymbal in the Netherlands and Troja in Curacao were the basis for the investigation.