#romancescams | Regional Report: Canada has done ‘amazing things’ to fight crime through public-private partnerships, but still hampered by stringent privacy rules, lack of AML safe harbors – CFCS | Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists

By Brian Monroe
August 25, 2020

In recent years, Canada has done “amazing things” in the arena of stronger information sharing between regulators, banks and law enforcement to target some of the most insidious financial crimes of our times.

Spearheaded by banks including BMO, HSBC, CIBC, RBC and Scotiabank, these groups have partnered with the Country’s financial intelligence unit to use data and investigator ingenuity to understand, report on and take down illicit networks.

The combined public-private sector might of these institutions and the government have come together under a single banner, to marshal their forces against money laundering, romance scams and other frauds, child exploitation and human trafficking – which became a global model to help other regions ally, align and attack criminals.

But some professionals say the region is still hampered by stringent privacy rules and a lack of formalized compliance safe harbors, similar to those in the United States, enshrined in Patriot Act Sections 314 (a) and 314(b).

Those provisions, created after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., allow law enforcement to query, and share information with banks, and banks to share information with each other on suspected instances of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Those are just some of the takeaways from the “Canada Focus – FinCrime Trends and Case Studies,” session, a panel from ACFCS Fincrime Virtual Week, hosted by the Toronto Chapter.

More than 5,600 attendees, speakers and thought leaders registered for the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists’ (ACFCS) first-ever fully online conference, which addressed the overarching themes of Disruption, Innovation and Resiliency.

The event covered five days of learning between Aug. 3 and Aug. 7 with dozens of sessions and speakers, including top federal regulators, investigative agencies and thought leaders from the banking, consulting, insurance, crypto currency and other financial services sectors.

Overall, the event highlighted the vital importance of collaboration, between banks, law enforcement and regulators, the need to illuminate the opacity of impenetrable beneficial ownership structures and the risks of shell companies, legal entities and crypto currencies. 

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