Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Money Laundering Hub On the U.S. Border? It’s Canada

Photo: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg News
Strict privacy laws, a reluctance among banks to report suspicious activity and weak regulators contribute to low number of convictions
After a Vancouver-based real-estate agent wired almost $240,000 from Canada’s Bank of Montreal to an account in Boston last year, U.S. authorities swooped in.
They arrested Omid Mashinchi and in January charged him with laundering drug money. Mr. Mashinchi pleaded guilty to the charges in late July in federal court in Massachusetts.
The case is one of several recently in which the U.S. has moved on suspicious transactions involving Canadian financial firms or citizens, and comes as Canada’s record of clamping down on money laundering is under fire at home and abroad.
When British Columbia’s attorney general, David Eby, was briefed by law-enforcement officials last year on alleged money laundering in his province, the scale of activity described to him “blew my mind,” Mr. Eby said.
Mr. Eby said he was embarrassed to learn that Australian authorities had even dubbed a common tactic among Chinese gangs, in which illicit money is processed through casinos, as “the Vancouver method.”
Canada’s financial-intelligence agency, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or Fintrac, said in a recent report to lawmakers that more than two-thirds of Canadian banks it examined had “significant levels” of noncompliance with anti-money-laundering rules, according to a copy reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
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1 comment:

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