Convoy Finance: Countering the Financing of Mischief
Welcome back for another edition of the convoy finance series. Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen some very interesting developments that I like to call “countering the financing of mischief”. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice authorized a restraint order on the GiveSendGo fundraiser, and TD Bank froze assets relating to the GoFundMe campaign, and then asked the court to accepts the funds (managing frozen assets is a nightmare!). So what are the protesters doing about this? Let’s find out.
Freezing Funds: Facilitating Mischief
The GiveSendGo crowdfunding campaign is now subject to a restraint order. The order specifies two crowdfunding campaigns – the “main” convoy fundraiser (Freedom Convoy 2022), and the secondary fundraiser organized by Chris Jarrah. The order also specifies that the directors of the NPO (set up a week or so back) are prohibited from disposing of or dealing with any of the funds.
According to the restraint order and related affidavit, funds are being raised to “facilitate the indictable offence of mischief which has been committed, is being committed, and is intended to be committed for as long as there are funds available to keep protesters and their trucks in Ottawa.” The funds are described as offence-related property.
In response, GiveSendGo has argued that Canadian courts have no jurisdiction over their business. However, the company’s payment processors, likely WePay or Stripe, are also subject to the order and are very likely (almost certain) to comply. Media reports suggest that the most likely payment processor for the funds is Stripe, a registered money service business in Canada and subject to Canadian laws, including our anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws.
It remains unclear if the organizers have received any disbursements from their GiveSendGo fundraiser; however, they are unlikely to receive any future donations, even though the campaigns remain active on the crowdfunding site. (The campaign growth has slowed significantly over the last 24-48 hours; this suggests that either support for the campaign has peaked, or funds are being re-directed to other campaigns).
Other, far smaller, campaigns related to the convoy remain active on GiveSendGo and are not subject to the same order.