31 Dec 2019
The recent proclamation in The Star that, “In Canada, nearly all accused money launderers get their charges dropped”, didn’t surprise me in the least.
I’ve had the privilege of interacting with hundreds of Canadian law enforcement officers and prosecutors who specialize in the prosecution of mafia bosses and money launderers. I’ve testified against Canadian mobsters in support of RCMP cases. It always amazed me that, when I shared my view about how Canada can attack its biggest money launderers, Canadian officials took exception to my view.
Believe it or not, Altaf Khanani (a man who laundered $16 billion a year for criminals from every aspect of the underworld), Ayman Joumaa (a man who specializes in laundering billions in drug proceeds for terrorist organizations), and the hundreds like them, are the type of launderers the limited resources of nations should be focused on to have a real impact on making this a better world. When I expressed the need for nations to establish money laundering prosecution squads, Canadian law enforcement scoffed at that proposal, stating that there was no need for such a taskforce because one has to prove an underlying specified unlawful act, such as drug trafficking, in order to support a money laundering charge. So, as they proclaimed, they can just add on the money laundering charge to their drug cases. That approach totally undermines the most effective use of the money laundering statues.
The elements of a money laundering prosecution in Canada, and many other countries, merely requires one to prove that the person who conducted transactions for the purpose of concealing and disguising the illicit source of the funds did so with a knowledge or belief that the funds came from a specified illegal activity. So you don’t have to prove that Pablo Escobar imported 10 tons of cocaine into Montreal to support a money laundering charge against the guy that laundered the proceeds from that importation. You need only prove that the money launderer knew or believed that the funds came from such a drug importation. Heck, you don’t even have to have a true underlying illicit crime. Undercover agents can tender government funds to a launderer and purport them to be illicit funds. The belief of the launderer that the funds are dirty can be done with a recorded conversation, wherein the money launderer is told that the funds came from the sale of illegal drugs. If the launderer thereafter does anything to conceal or disguise the source of the funds, such as provide an offshore company and bank account through which the funds can be received and disbursed, “WE’VE GOT HIM. SLAP ON THE CUFFS.”
Canada’s money laundering statute is pretty clear:
462.31 (1) Every one commits an offence who uses, transfers the possession of, sends or delivers to any person or place, transports, transmits, alters, disposes of or otherwise deals with, in any manner and by any means, any property or any proceeds of any property with intent to conceal or convert that property or those proceeds, knowing or believing that, or being reckless as to whether, all or a part of that property or of those proceeds was obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of
- (a) the commission in Canada of a designated offence; or
- (b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence.
I’m begging Canada and all nations to please take a serious look at my white paper about how we can efficiently attack real money launderers, no matter what corner of the world in which these greedy criminals choose to try to transform dirty money into corrupting capital for the underworld:
Robert Mazur is president of KYC Solutions, Inc. and The New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Infiltrator,” a memoir of his life undercover as a money launderer.
RiskScreen: Eliminating Financial Crime with Smart Technology
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