At least 85 real estate firms not complying with anti-money laundering rules

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At least 85 real estate companies have not implemented a plan showing how they are trying to detect money laundering and other suspicious transactions, nearly 15 years after they were required to do so, according to data obtained by The Canadian Press.

In Ontario, 19 real estate firms said they hadn’t fully implemented a compliance regime for anti-money laundering rules.

The federal anti-money laundering agency received 337 compliance reports from roughly 1,000 companies in the real estate sector it surveyed — including brokers, sales representatives and developers — between Jan. 1, 2013, and Feb. 8, 2016.

The data, which was obtained through an access-to-information request, represents only a small sampling of the real estate industry. There are about 20,000 companies in the real estate sector that are required to report to Fintrac.

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MAS to Launch New Anti-Money Laundering Initiative

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central banking authority, has stepped up its plans to issue an overhaul to its internal infrastructure and systems in a bid to help curb money laundering, given the recent cropping of incidents worldwide, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

MAS to Launch New Anti-Money Laundering Initiative

A couple months ago, the central bank of Bangladesh learned a painful lesson as it was targeted by a $1.0 billion heist that succeeded in hacking SWIFT systems, resulting in the theft of $81.0 million. Since then, a panel of international banks have all instigated probes and overviews into their respective payments systems, given the vulnerabilities uncovered via the Bangladeshi incident.

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Nordea flags Danish anti-money-laundering probe

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STOCKHOLM– Nordea Bank AB said Friday the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has criticized the bank’s Danish unit in its anti-money-laundering-probe and will hand over the matter to the police for further investigations and possible sanctions.

The regulator started its probe in June 2015 and its findings are related to the bank’s earlier reported deficiencies in the area, it said.

“The deficiencies within anti-money-laundering are known to us and we have in close dialogue with the authorities addressed these in the action plan that we launched last spring,” said Nordea Chief Executive Casper von Koskull.

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DOJ resets anti-money laundering probe vs Kim Wong

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This was after Wong sought more time to submit his counter-affidavit in response to the complaint over the controversial $81-million laundered money from the Bank of Bangladesh which slipped through the Philippine financial system through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC).

Based on the nine-page complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), also facing a case for violation of Section 4 (a) and (b) of Republic Act (RA) No. 9160, otherwise known as the the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 is Chinese national Weikang Xu.

Section 4 (a) holds accountable for money laundering any person who transacts or attempts to transact a monetary instrument or property which represents, involves, or relates to, the proceeds of any unlawful activity; while section 4 (b) covers any person who performs or fails to perform any act despite knowledge that any monetary instrument or property involves the proceeds of any unlawful activity and, therefore, facilitates the offense of money laundering.

Bank CEO defends Canada’s anti-money laundering practices

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The Bank of Montreal’s CEO is defending the Canadian banking sector’s anti-money laundering practices following reports linking a major Canadian financial institution to a Panamanian law firm at the centre of a data leak on the use of offshore tax havens.

Bill Downe says Canadian banks have “dramatically” beefed up their anti-money laundering controls over the last seven to 10 years at the request of various governments around the world.

“I would say that the current Bank Secrecy Act anti-money laundering provisions, particularly involving U.S. dollar accounts, are extremely robust,” Downe said in an interview following the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in Toronto on Tuesday.

 

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Tighter money laundering rules planned

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Wealthy people who fall under suspicion of criminal activity will have to explain before any charges how they came by their assets under a new anti-money laundering initiative announced by the British government on Thursday.

The plans will also increase the responsibility of businesses to report suspicious financial activity and introduce a criminal offense of illicit enrichment — targeting public officials who exploit their power.

Investigators will be able to designate a company as being “of concern in relation to money laundering”, a move that would force banks, law firms and accountants to use special measures when doing business with them.

The move is the latest in a series of steps the government has taken in the past year to beef up transparency and law enforcement powers in Britain’s financial system.

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FCA launch crackdown on money laundering in wake of Panama papers

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The FCA confirmed it has written to a “number of firms” about disclosures in the Panama papers, including those on the regulator’s Systematic Anti-Money Laundering Programme.

A spokesperson said, “We are working closely with a number of other agencies who are also looking at this.

“As part of our responsibility to ensure the integrity of the UK financial markets we require all authorised firms to have systems and controls in place to mitigate the risk that they might be used to commit financial crime.”

The spokesperson added that the FCA has published its annual Business Plan, which identifies financial crime and anti-money laundering activity as one of its priorities for the year.

Other areas of focus include pensions, wholesale financial markets, advice, innovation and technology, the treatment of existing customers and firms’ culture and governance.

John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the FCA said, “We remain determined to ensure that markets work effectively and fairly and, where necessary, we will use our enforcement powers to reinforce our policy objectives and to provide effective deterrence from irresponsible behaviour.”

Tracey McDermott, acting chief executive of the FCA added, “On financial crime, we will continue to actively protect consumers and markets from the criminals who seek to exploit them. We will take tough action against wrongdoers, working closely with industry and law enforcement to do so. We will also take steps to help people to protect themselves against crime through our ScamSmart campaign.

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Businesses under microscope in money laundering reforms

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COMPANIES that facilitate or enable money laundering will be taken to task by the government as it looks to declare war on those who move, hide or use the proceeds of crime or corruption.

The Treasury and the Home Office have announced a new action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance, three weeks before the prime minister speaks before a global anti-corruption summit.

The action plan intends to create an ‘enhanced law enforcement’ against the threat the UK finance system faces, including passing through ‘tough new legal powers’ to tackle criminals and the financing of terrorist organisations.

Also on the agenda is to reform the supervisory regime so the government can bring companies that facilitate money laundering to task, as well as increasing the ‘international reach’ of law enforcement agencies.

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Many Vancouver real estate firms failing to follow anti-money laundering laws

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New evidence suggests that dozens of Metro Vancouver real estate firms are failing to adhere to anti-money laundering laws.

Vancouver’s hectic, high-priced real estate market can be a great place for money launderers to ply their trade, which is why federal financial regulators decided to investigate 80 realtors and real estate brokers.

“Nobody is watching the henhouse other than the foxes,” BC NDP Leader John Horgan said. “(Housing minister) Rich Coleman has said over and again, ‘We’re in touch with the market because we talk to the Real Estate Board.’ That’s important but we need more than that.”

Of the 80 realtor offices investigated by the federal money-laundering watchdog, 55 had significant or very significant deficiencies when it came collecting key information from buyers.

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Anti-money laundering watchdog’s secrecy a disservice to Canadian banking industry

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The federal anti-money laundering watchdog’s secrecy over identifying the first bank ever fined for breaching its standards has smeared the reputation of the entire industry, a financial sector advocate said Thursday.

The federal anti-money laundering watchdog’s secrecy over identifying the first bank ever fined for breaching its standards has smeared the reputation of the entire industry, a financial sector advocate said Thursday.

Janet Ecker, president of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, is calling on the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac) to name the bank recently fined $1.1 million for failing to report a suspicious transaction and various other transfers.

“They should make the name public rather than tarring everyone,” she said.

“Our industry has an excellent reputation globally. So clarity is important to ensure we don’t suffer needless reputation risk.”

The failure to name the offending institution is a disservice to the industry because it paints an unfairly dubious picture of all players, said Ecker, a former Ontario finance minister who’s in China on a trade mission with Mayor John Tory.