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.

 

Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

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March 8, 2016 – Ottawa – Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada

Finance Minister Bill Morneau today tabled in Parliament the 2015 Annual Report of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. The report details the activities and operations that Canada’s financial intelligence unit carried out in 2014–15 to help protect Canadians and the integrity of Canada’s financial system.

Over this reporting period, FINTRAC provided a record 1,260 disclosures of actionable financial intelligence to its law enforcement and national security partners to assist their investigations of money laundering, terrorism financing and threats to the security of Canada. The Centre also developed indicators specific to individuals traveling abroad to assist terrorist organizations in order to facilitate the reporting by Canadian businesses of suspicious transactions related to the financing of terrorism. As well, FINTRAC worked with its counterparts on several international initiatives targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s funding sources.

The report also details the broad range of enabling and enforcement activities that the Centre undertook to ensure that businesses met their obligations under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, including conducting compliance examinations, levying administrative monetary penalties, providing policy interpretations, hosting conferences and addressing thousands of inquiries from businesses. The compliance efforts of Canadian businesses and, in particular, the financial transaction reports they provide to FINTRAC are the foundation of its analysis and the intelligence that it is able to provide to its law enforcement and national security partners.

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Paddy Power fined nearly £310k for anti-money laundering, KYC shortcomings

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Irish betting operator Paddy Power has been hit with nearly £310k in fines and penalties following a UK Gambling Commission probe into the company’s anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer practices.

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On Monday, the UKGC released a statement detailing “failures in anti-money laundering controls” at Paddy’s online and land-based betting businesses. The UKGC said it was spotlighting Paddy’s “serious failings” in the hope that other UK-licensed operators would take note and avoid a similar trip to the regulatory woodshed.

In the first case detailed by the UKGC, Paddy’s retail operations were slammed for not properly ascertaining the source of the funds a high-value customer was wagering via fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT).

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Philippine Gaming Regulator Probes Alleged Money-Laundering

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The Philippines is training its sights on the gaming sector in a renewed push to curb the transmission of illicit funds.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has started investigating news reports that as much as $100 million of suspicious funds were remitted to three casinos’ bank accounts, according to a statement Wednesday. The government agency expects the casinos, which it didn’t name, to submit their comments on the allegation this week.

The gaming regulator’s comments come a day after Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Teresita Herbosa warned the country risks returning to the list of nations that aren’t doing enough to fight money laundering if laws aren’t strengthened to include sectors like casinos among institutions required to report suspicious transactions. If that happens, Philippine transactions including overseas remittances that amounted to more than $25 billion last year would be subject to increased scrutiny.

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