Financial sector cries foul over penalty on anonymous bank

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A $1.1-million fine slapped on an unidentified bank by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FinTRAC) has drawn fire from various quarters in the financial services industry, who fear that the anonymity of the reprimanded party is casting a shadow over the segment as a whole.
FinTRAC charged the penalty to the unnamed Canadian bank over the latter’s failure to report a suspicious deal, but what has meant to be a deterrent to the nation’s major banks instead served as a rallying point for the financial sector.
“The uncertainty of who it is does not help the sector’s reputation. I would hope that there can be more clarity on this incident at some point,” Toronto Financial Services Alliance CEO Janet Ecker told The Globe and Mail.
The Big Six Canadian banks announced on Wednesday (April 6) that they were not fined. Prior to this case, FinTRAC usually went after casinos and non-bank institutions that convert or transfer funds.
“I can tell you that it is not the Royal Bank of Canada,” Royal Bank of Canada CEO Dave McKay said to media in a press conference.
FinTRAC officials said that if necessary, they could expose the names of future offenders to supplement their campaign against money laundering in Canada’s financial system.
“We think it is in the public interest to send the message now, rather than wait for a potentially long appeals process,” FinTRAC spokesperson Darren Gibb announced. “That doesn’t mean we won’t name the next one.”
The move was warmly welcomed by transparency and anti-corruption advocates.
“This fine is a sign of even bigger things to come. I look at this within the context of FinTRAC as a maturing regulatory organization and getting its legs,” Toronto anti-laundering lawyer Bruce McMeekin said.

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