Anti-Money Laundering – Industry News

Canada’s FINTRAC Imposes Fine on Questrade for Serious AML Breaches

Canada’s financial watchdog that supervises money laundering and terrorist financing has issued details of violations committed by a Canadian regulated broker dealer. Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), a government organization that reports to Canada’s ministry of finance, has found Questrade, a domestic financial services firm guilty of negligence in relation to serious principles in the way it deals with money laundering. As a result, FINTRAC enforced a financial penalty in 2011 to the multi-asset discount broker. FINTRAC announced full details of the violations committed by Questrade in a press statement. The Order states that: “Questrade, Inc., a securities dealer in Toronto, Ontario, was imposed an administrative monetary penalty of $346,140 on October 19, 2011, for committing nine violations of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the Act) and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations (the Regulations).” [Read More…]

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox disappears in blow to virtual currency

Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, looked to have essentially disappeared on Tuesday, with its website down, its founder unaccounted for and a Tokyo office empty bar a handful of protesters saying they had lost money investing in the virtual currency. The digital marketplace operator, which began as a venue for trading cards, had surged to the top of the bitcoin world, but critics – from rival exchanges to burned investors – said Mt. Gox had long been lax over its security. It was not clear what has become of the exchange, which this month halted withdrawals indefinitely after detecting “unusual activity.” A global bitcoin organization referred to the exchange’s “exit,” while angry investors questioned whether it was still solvent. [Read More…]

FATF: ‘Significant Progress’ by Canada on AML Program

The Financial Action Task Force said Monday that Canada “made significant progress” in addressing deficiencies in its anti-money laundering program, and recommended it no longer face annual FATF audits. The FATF said in a statement it had placed Canada on its annual follow-up list after a peer evaluation in 2008 that found issues with several of the country’s anti-money laundering regulations, including problems with requirements on reporting beneficial owners, conducting due diligence and taking risk-based approaches. But in the report issued Monday, the FATF said deficiencies over rules governing beneficial ownership and ongoing due diligence “have been substantially addressed.” In addition, the FATF said Canada strengthened its financial intelligence and reporting units, required money-services businesses to register with the government, and expanded coverage of its anti-money laundering regime to additional non-financial businesses, such as notaries and dealers in precious metals and stones. [Read More…]

High Compliance Costs Endure at HSBC

HSBC Holdings PLC settled probes into its anti-money laundering controls for nearly $2 billion in 2012. But the bank’s 2013 earnings are a reminder compliance costs can continue after such a settlement. While the bank’s net profit rose in 2013 in part because of the drag the settlement had on 2012 results, core operating expenses rose partly because of increased risk and compliance costs. “We have made substantial investment in risk and compliance capabilities across all businesses and regions to strengthen our response to the ongoing threat of financial crime, and will continue to do so,” Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said in a letter accompanying the earnings release.  For instance, the bank said it added a total of more than 1,750 regulatory and financial crime compliance employees in 2013, an increase of more than 50% since the settlement. [Read More…]

Bank of Montreal Shuts Down Bitcoin Business Accounts: Report

A Vancouver-based bitcoin exchange says its account has been shut down by the Bank of Montreal and claims the bank is closing all accounts owned by businesses who trade in bitcoins. In a statement on its website, Cointrader said BMO was the “last remaining bitcoin-friendly charter bank” in Canada and it’s disappointed by the move. “Despite the fact that Cointrader has already implemented an anti-money laundering regime to comply with potential FINTRAC regulations which was vetted by BMO itself, the bank has decided to sever our account as well,” wrote Cointrader co-founder Paul Szczesny. A spokesman for the Bank of Montreal said Thursday he could not say whether only Cointrader’s account was shut or if the bank is freezing all bitcoin business accounts because of a “privacy policy that precludes the bank from commenting on customer business.” [Read More…]

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 Forum on Anti-Money Laundering


When: Wednesday, April 2 to Thursday, April 3, 2014

Where: Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Toronto

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