The equivalent of about US$500 BILLION dollars is laundered each year. Most industrialized countries have established new laws in order to fight both money laundering and suspected terrorist financing activities.
Commencing June 23/08, in Canada, sellers (who are listing a property for sale) and buyers (signing an offer to purchase ) are required to show a photo identification (at the time of signing) to the real estate salesperson or broker who is required to record on a form called: “CLIENT INFORMATION RECORD”. The details from the photo I.D. AND the person’s occupation are to be recorded. This information MUST be retained in the Real Estate Broker’s company files as a private record for FINTRAC's review (if needed) regarding verification of the identity of persons buying or selling real estate in Canada.
Canada’s federal law, THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME (MONEY LAUNDERING) AND TERRORIST FINANCING ACT has established an administration called FINTRAC (The FINancial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) which currently has a staff of approximately 300 people (head office in Ottawa with Regional Offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal) to administer the requirements under Canada’s federal law.
The law affects NOT ONLY real estate brokers (as of June 23/08) but also the banking industry, life insurance companies, security dealers, foreign exchange businesses, accountants and casinos.
Also, lawyers are obligated to report cash transaction of $10,000 dollars or more and they are NOT allowed to tell the client about their report.
Failing to report suspicious transactions, or disclosing the fact of the report, are offences, some punishable by fines of up to CDN$2,000,000 and imprisonment by up to five years.
To find out more about Canada’s laws on money laundering and terrorist financing, visit FINTRAC’s website
or call toll free: 1-866-346-8722