In April 2016, Canadian news media reported that the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC) had levied a penalty of over $1 million against an unnamed Canadian bank for certain violations of its anti-money laundering requirements. Since then, FinTRAC has continued to face criticism from the public and the media for its decision to withhold the name of the offending bank.
The Director of FinTRAC, Gérald Cossette, released a statement on February 27 regarding its decision last Spring not to publicize the bank’s name. According to the statement, the message of deterrence was effective despite FinTRAC’s decision not to publicize the bank’s name. However, Mr. Cossette acknowledges that withholding the name of the bank may not have met public expectations in relation to openness and transparency. The statement provides that FinTRAC will “look to work” with the Department of Finance to review the legislation that applies to FinTRAC’s administrative monetary penalty (AMP) program. Further, FinTRAC states that it is examining its AMP policies to ensure that an appropriate balance between transparency and statutory requirements of the legislation are met.
Also on February 27, Manulife Financial Corp. disclosed that its banking subsidiary, Manulife Bank, was fined by FinTRAC in connection with administrative errors. News reports indicate that Manulife issued the statement after the CBC, citing anonymous sources, identified Manulife Bank as the bank fined by FinTRAC last year.