US extends GTOs for tracking money laundering in real estate

The US Treasury has announced that it is extending its Geographical Targeting Orders to identify purchasers of luxury real estate properties in six areas in the US. The GTOs require title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay all cash for high-end residential real estate. A Special Agent with 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 [...]

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 [...]

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“). [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Brazil’s former President, his wife and son charged with money laundering

Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and his wife and son were charged with money laundering and identity fraud in connection with real estate purchases. According to Brazil’s prosecutor, the former president used proceeds of crime to acquire real estate in Guaruja for he and his family that was destined for regular families in [...]

French government concerned over potential money laundering with vineyard purchases

Tracfin report highlights money laundering In its annual money laundering report, France’s Traitement du Renseignement et Action Contre les Circuits Financiers Clandestins (“Tracfin“) expressed concern over money laundering risks associated with the sale of  France’s most renowned wineries to investors from China, Hong Kong and Russia. The concern stems from the increase in suspicious transaction reports filed with [...]

Money laundering red flags for lawyers – summary of FATF lawyers report

FATF Report on Lawyers & Money Laundering The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF“) released a report yesterday entitled “Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Vulnerabilities of Legal Professionals” (the “Report“) identifying situations of exposure for lawyers to money laundering by clients and suggesting best practices to minimize those risks. Our summary of the Report can be [...]

FATF Releases New Recommendations and Standards for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing

Today, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its long anticipated revised set of standards for anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) which replace the 40 Recommendations + 9 Special Recommendations compiled in 2003. The revised FATF Recommendations integrate AML and CTF controls into one document and are quite expansive in that they [...]