Canada making slow progress towards beneficial ownership transparency

Canada is making slow progress in its efforts to establish a transparent registry of beneficial ownership of corporations according to the country’s finance minister, Bill Morneau.

During his first visit to the province of British Columbia since a massive trade-based money laundering operation (TBML) was unearthed there, he says the registry has yet to receive full support from all of the country’s provinces.

Progress stalled

Morneau says he has held extensive talks with provincial political leaders since 2017 when Canada resolved to introduce a transparent registry of beneficial ownership but “there was no final commitment from all provinces.”

He said matters such as regulatory burdens and privacy concerns are stalling the establishment of a beneficial ownership registry.

Opaque jurisdiction

Transparency International says Canada is one of the world’s most opaque jurisdictions when it comes to ownership of private companies and trusts, all of which are registered by provincial governments.

A probe into illicit fund flows commissioned by British Columbia revealed widespread TBML through the export of luxury cars purchased from motor dealers in the province and sold to buyers in China (Trade Based Financial Crime, 24 May, 2019).

Additional funding

Morneau announced that an additional C$10 million (US$7.5 million) has been approved for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to conduct money laundering investigations.

This is in addition to the new, C$24 million Anti-Money Laundering Action, Coordination and Enforcement (ACE) Team the federal government funded for five-years in its 2019 budget last February.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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