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Canada: Bill targets organized crime
Publicado el Nov 11, 2010

The province will crack down on tax evasion and money laundering by organized crime, which now uses private automatic teller machines and non-bank cheque-cashing, foreign exchange and money transfer operations for illegal activities.

Some U.S. states and European countries have started regulating these non-bank financial services, but Quebec would be the first province in Canada to do so.

Presenting Bill 128 yesterday to enact the Money-Services Business Act, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said there are between 6,000 and 8,000 non-bank ATMs in Quebec and about 2,000 cheque-cashing, foreign-exchange and money-transfer operations.

The bill would require non-bank operators, now unregulated, to obtain a permit and make reports to the Autorite des marches financiers.

The Surete du Quebec would do criminal background checks on the operators and company directors, providing the information gathered to the AMF before permits are granted. Revenue Quebec would also be given police files on the operators.

Guy Ouellette, a former SQ officer who specialized in organized crime and now is Liberal MNA for Chomedy riding in Laval, advised Bachand on the bill.

Ouellette said anyone in Quebec can rent an ATM on the Internet in 10 minutes, noting that while not all the non-bank ATMs in the province are controlled by organized crime, some, such as those in strip clubs, are.

And the cash in the machines may be from drug deals, allowing organized crime to launder the money, Ouellette said, recalling a case of one biker gang "individual" who made between $4 million and $7 million a year, running a chain of ATMs from his clubhouse.

Ouellette said the cheque-cashing operations now allow a criminal to cash a $100,000 cheque, no questions asked, after paying the usual 3-percent commission. "Someone above suspicion has no problem cashing a cheque in a bank."

Under Bill 128, everyone cashing a cheque will be required to provide proper identification, he said.

Ouellette said the new law will also limit identity theft by unscrupulous operators using unregulated ATMs and financial operations.

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