Friday, April 07, 2006

Home Builders Could Be Targets For Money-Laundering Schemes

The RCMP is calling on government officials to close legal loopholes that make it easy for terrorists and organized criminals to move dirty money.

Most financial institutions are currently required to report certain "suspicious transactions" to Canada's financial intelligence agency, the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada -- or FINTRAC -- and keep detailed client records. But lawyers have always been exempt because of solicitor-client privilege.

Finance Canada is also concerned that casino owners, home builders and jewellers could be targets for money-laundering schemes. The proposal would require them to report cash transactions or international electronic fund transfers of more than $10,000 to FINTRAC and keep more detailed, up-to-date client records.

This is critical, the RCMP argues, because "as stricter regulations are imposed on businesses in the financial services industry, criminals are seeking alternative methods of laundering the money accumulated from their criminal activity."

The Canadian Home Builders' Association argues there's no evidence of money laundering and criminal behaviour in the new-home-building industry.

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