The law on privilege in the context of money laundering and financial crime

In Canada and the US, lawyers are not subject to anti-money laundering reporting obligations like they are in most other countries. One of the most frequent reasons given for this by lawyers is that to require us to report certain financial transactions to a financial intelligence unit is inconsistent with, and would undermine, legal privilege. [...]

US lists Vancouver company a “significant transnational criminal organization”

Vancouver company listed as a criminal organization  Allegations of global money laundering from Vancouver through the financial system Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC“), designated Vancouver based PacNet and its connected companies, as a significant transnational criminal organization (“TCO“) for its role acting as an alleged money laundering [...]

Internet operator of illegal online sports gambling operation in Toronto pleads guilty

A Toronto man accused of running the Internet services for Platinum Sport Book, an illegal sports betting ring that the RCMP believe may be linked to the Mafia and the Hells Angels, pleaded guilty to being a bookie in a criminal organization. Platinum Sports Book was a sophisticated online gambling website located partially offshore that [...]

US expands review of money laundering in real estate market

More scrutiny in US for real estate The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it is expanding its program to identify persons who may be hiding assets in residential properties in the US. The expansion adds additional cities to what are called the area for Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO). Title insurance agents in GTO cities [...]

Financial transparency in Iran – more advanced than you think

Blacklist in place Last week, the FATF voted to keep Iran on a blacklist, which means that banks are being advised that they may want to treat financial transactions from Iran with heightened scrutiny. It’s an interesting decision because Iran is, in many ways, more transparent that many other countries that appear to have no FATF [...]

The CIA on terrorism and tech

On June 16, 2016, the Director of the CIA testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in respect of the Islamic State (ISIS), terrorism and technology generally. Here is an executive summary: The CIA said there there has never been a time when there is such a “dizzying” array of national security issues and [...]

FinTechs are being derisked out of bank accounts over terrorist financing and money laundering risks says UK study

The Financial Conduct Authority released an interesting soft study on the incidents of derisking affecting companies in the UK and pursuant to the study, MSB, charities and FinTechs are the three business client groups whose bank accounts are most frequently closed because they are too risky for the bank (a practice known as derisking). No [...]

Primer on Beneficial Ownership and Numbered, Shelf and Shell Companies

Beneficial ownership … Shell companies … Shelf companies … What’s the Difference?  Since the Panama Papers, there seems to be an increasing interest in the concepts of beneficial ownership, numbered companies, shell companies and shelf companies and people use them interchangeably but they are not the same thing. 1. Shelf Companies  A shelf company literally [...]

Canada and the fake refugee passport issue

Fake refugees — A crisis within a crisis It seems to becoming clear that it is not reasonably possible to rely on the identity documents of any persons who claim Syrian or Iraqi refugee status from 2014 onwards, the time in which the Islamic State acquired the capacity to create authentic passports. Since at least [...]

Towards redefining financial inclusion

Financial inclusion continues to be an important part of the dialogue on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing law, because the latter results in a greater number of people being de-risked out of financial services or denied banking services altogether. In this piece in American Banker, we explore the issues that arise with the way in [...]