Puerto Rico pauses lender’s operations

The Puerto Rico-based Euro Pacific International Bank, whose operations were previously alleged to be under suspicion of aiding in money laundering and offshore tax evasion, had its operations suspended, according to authorities, who made the announcement on Thursday.

According to internet documents, Peter Schiff, a U.S. stock broker and financial analyst, launched the bank, which had 15,000 accounts at the end of 2019.

The bank that was granted a licence to conduct business in the U.S. territory in 2017 came under scrutiny due to a deficiency in internal controls, a failure to comply with regulations, and a degree of insolvency, according to Puerto Rico’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions, which initiated the investigation.

The bank “has not wanted to comply” despite “numerous opportunities,” according to commissioner Natalia Zequeira. A message requesting comment from the bank in San Juan, the country’s capital, went unanswered.

The head of the criminal investigation for the International Revenue Service, Jim Lee, stated that he was unable to confirm or deny if Schiff was under investigation. Zequeira denied to provide the bank’s entire assets and client count, claiming that such information is private. She did, however, promise to pay creditors in a specific order.

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