Pursuing its agenda to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and to promote a clean and reputable financial centre, the Government of Mauritius introduced a series of legislation in early 2002, namely the Prevention of Corruption Act, The prevention of Terrorism Act and the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act under which the Financial Intelligence Unit was set up.
In essence, the FIU is a specialised organisation that receives, analyses, assess and disseminates financial intelligence on suspected money laundering and terrorist activity financing. Such organisations form an important element of a modern Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and they are proliferating worldwide.
Two major factors support the creation of FIUs. First, the objective of financial investigations is to discover the financial trail left by criminals. This calls for specialised skills in analysing accounts of financial institutions, documents, corporate registries, insurance contracts and a full range of financial and business records. Secondly, information reporting and recordkeeping requirements generate substantial financial data which need to be synthesized and made useful to competent authorities. This involves the receipt, grading and storing of information prior to analysis and dissemination to law enforcement agencies, regulators and overseas FIUs or other agencies engaged in AML/CFT. The products of FIUs are therefore intelligence packages and disclosures for use by regulators, investigators or prosecutors.