Policing Canada's Financial Sector
Money service business operator charged under the PCMLTFA
On 12 November 2021, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s federal police force, charged Nishanthan Gunapalan with 4 counts of knowingly providing false or misleading information. These charges fall under Canada’s anti-money laundering legislation, the PCMLTFA. The charges were brought after an investigation by the Greater Toronto Area Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Team (IMLIT) following a disclosure from FINTRAC, Canada’s financial intelligence unit. FINTRAC’s disclosure outlined potentially criminal noncompliance with Canada’s anti-money laundering laws by a company identified as 2460753 Ontario Inc, operating as Saiesan Money Transfer. These charges are noteworthy because Canada rarely brings criminal charges against money service business operators and they are the first enforcement action by the new IMLITs.
The New IMLITS
Last year, the government introduced the new IMLITs in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. They are meant to bring together expertise from a variety of agencies to investigate money laundering and proceeds of crime investigations. These specialized units are a direct response to the lack of money laundering and organized crime investigative capacity that the Cullen Commission identified. The IMLITs may have representatives from the Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Revenue Agency, Forensic Accounting Management Group, and a Public Prosecution Service of Canada Advisory Crown Council. This is the first charge laid by an IMLIT.1