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. […]

FBI – “No safe haven anywhere for money launderers” – The fascinating $1B 1MDB civil asset forfeiture case

Largest civil asset recovery case in US of this kind On July 20, 2016, the US Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture case in California to recover assets of more than $1 billion in alleged proceeds of crime resulting from fraud allegedly committed by individuals associated with the Malaysian government’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB“). […]

Iran renews calls for the deportation of Khavari

The requested deportation of Mahmoud Reza Khavari, a former Iranian foreign national, and a Canadian citizen living in Toronto, seems to be at the centre of the arrest of a Canadian professor from Montreal, Homa Hoodfar, also an Iranian foreign national and equally a Canadian citizen, who was visiting Iran. Professor Hoodfar was arrested by […]

“Responsible Innovation” – What the coming regulation of FinTech will look like

Financial regulators balance innovation and protection Financial regulators serve two important functions for the financial system. 1. They support growth and innovation where it could improve access to finance, or the delivery of financial services or grow the economy. 2. At the same time,  they  protect consumers and society at large by supervising the financial services […]

US amends anti-money laundering law for beneficial ownership after Panama Papers, including to detect purchases of expensive real estate with illicit money

Panama Papers Driven Changes The US Treasury has announced several amendments, and proposed legislative amendments, to its anti-money laundering (“AML“) legislation in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal to tackle the disclosure of what is called “beneficial ownership.” Beneficial ownership means the beneficial, as opposed to the legal, owner of shares of a private […]

France to limit cash and ‘anonymous’ transactions; introduces new law; et mobilise contre le terrorisme avec l’investissement de €736 million

€736 Million Investment in Counter-Terrorism Infrastructure Le gouvernement français a décrété une “mobilisation générale” contre le terrorisme, annonçant la création de 2,680 emplois et le déblocage de €736 millions sur trois ans. Le Premier ministre a présenté des mesures visant à mieux lutter contre les filières suspectes, notamment via internet et dans les prisons, évaluant […]

Primer on correspondent banking relationships and offshore tax havens

How correspondent banking relationships are used to launder funds My favorite resource for correspond banking is the US Senate Report on Correspondent Banking published several years ago. Despite its age, it remains timely because it deals specifically with how the US financial system is used by correspondent banks in, mainly offshore tax havens to, inter […]

Canadian asset manager and Canadian tax lawyer whose firm gave anti-money laundering advice indicted in US for money laundering

International tax lawyer and former fund manager from Québec indicted in US after IRS sting The arrest of two Canadians from Québec, Eric St-Cyr, an investment fund manager, and Patrick Poulin, a lawyer, in the US over money laundering charges hit the news today when their cases were transferred to Florida for prosecution. Mr. St-Cyr […]

Equatorial Guinea Vice President charged with money laundering

The Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodorin Obiang, has been charged with money laundering in a multinational corruption case in which it is alleged that he illegally moved state assets to other countries, including France. His lawyer in France, Olivier Metzner, was found dead last year floating in the sea near Boëdic island in Gulf of Morbihan. […]