According to the US Department of State, Canada has been listed as a “major money laundering country”
The “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” cites Canada’s weak laws and punishments for money laundering and the prevalence of international criminal organizations circumventing regulations through real estate and casinos.
Canada is named in the report alongside countries like Russia, China, Afghanistan and the Cayman Islands.
“The illicit drug market is the largest criminal market in Canada. Transnational organized crime groups represent the most threatening and sophisticated actors in the market, given their access to professional money launderers and facilitators and their use of various money laundering methods to shield their illicit activity from detection by authorities,” claims the report.
According to a recent report by Global News, over $1 billion of fentanyl-related proceeds were laundered through the British Columbia housing market.
“Canada has a rigorous detection and monitoring process in place but should further enhance its enforcement and prosecutorial capabilities,” claims the Department of State. “As noted by international experts, when the magnitude of the identified money laundering risks are taken into account, Canada’s money laundering conviction rate appears to be low; from 2010-2014 (most recent data available), only 169 trials on charges of money laundering led to a conviction.”
In one case in February, a $1.5 million cash laundering investigation fell apart because of the RCMP’s mishandling of a witness.
The operation was believed to act as an illegal bank for high stakes gamblers and funded narcotics activity in Mexico.