Biggest illegal online dark net Bitcoin marketplace shut down; run by a Canadian who committed suicide rather than face US justice

The US DoJ has taken down what it calls the world’s largest criminal marketplace on the Internet called AlphaBay yesterday, which operated for over two years on the dark net. AlphaBay was over ten times larger than Silk Road when Silk Road was taken down in 2013. Like Silk Road, AlphaBay was used for trading of [...]

Turning a blind eye to money laundering now costs you in Canada

In a surprise decision for Canada, an appellate court has reversed a lenient sentence for Jacqueline Garnett, the girlfriend of a drug dealer who was convicted of possession of proceeds of crime, and instead imposed a two-year conditional sentence, partially to be served under house arrest. While the new sentence is still light by global [...]

Canada’s New Cannabis Act – Harsh New Offences; Money Laundering; Why Cannabis Stores Can’t Get Bank Accounts; Role of Organized Crime

Canada introduced a new Cannabis law, Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, expected to come into force in July 2018. Skip to Part 2, below, if you just want to review the new law. Part 1 – Background on Current Law, Illegal Dispensing; Denial of Bank Accounts Illegality of Cannabis Sales Except for Medical Purposes Until [...]

Issues in Financial Crime, Technology, RegTech, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

3rd Annual Vancouver FinTech Conference The 3rd Annual Financial Technology Conference in Vancouver takes place on May 3, 2017, which we co-sponsor. This year’s Conference focuses on “FinTech, RegTech and Financial Crime” and will cover the nexus between technology solutions to address regulation (RegTech), law, money laundering, terrorist financing, compliance, fraud, identity management, corruption, real [...]

Politically exposed Chinese foreign national pleads guilty to immigration fraud

Shilan Zhao (趙世蘭), the ex-wife of a Chinese official and a politically exposed person, has pleaded guilty to immigration fraud related to the EB5 investor visa program in the US and will serve a term of incarceration of five years. Zhao conspired with her husband, Jianjun Qiao (喬建軍), aka Feng Li, to immigrate to the [...]

Trial of PEP from Equatorial Guinea for money laundering in France; are Canada’s PEPs from Gabon next?

Equatorial Guinea trial Teodorin Obiang, the son of the President of Equatorial Guinea, is being prosecuted in France for allegedly laundering the proceeds of corruption in France. Mr. Obiang is also the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea and is a politically exposed person. His trial is scheduled for June 2017. He is accused of bringing $105 [...]

Does privilege really prevent lawyers from reporting money laundering?

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 indicts foreign national for laundering money from Iran through Canada, US, Korea and parking it in expensive real estate

The US federal government has filed an indictment against a foreign national, Kenneth Zong, who resided in the US for allegedly laundering over $1 billion from Iran through Canada, the US and a number of other countries in violation of international sanctions law that prohibit providing financial services to Iranian foreign nationals in Iran and [...]

Ontario judge rules on admissibility of evidence in online criminal gambling prosecution

An Ontario court has ruled that evidence seized from the car of a person alleged to be connected to the Hell’s Angels can be admitted at trial even when that evidence was taken ostensibly under one piece of legislation, but was intended to be admitted for an investigation under other legislation. In November 2012, Andrew Bielli [...]

Beneficial ownership and money laundering issues in real estate

The 4th Annual ACAMS Conference in Toronto on October 25-26, 2016 will cover a session on the hot topic of real estate and money laundering, including the role of beneficial ownership with an explanation from a legal perspective on what beneficial ownership is and how transactions are structured to avoid the reporting requirement under the Proceeds [...]