Money Laundering is destructive in many ways. In Canada, it is a major political and legal issue causing on-going investigations. Now it can be said to harm real estate investment interest along with dealing a blow to its reputation.
It is called Canada’s “snow washing” money laundering problem — the process of making a company as clean as the “driven snow in the Great White North.” Money laundering funds through Canadian real estate and casino transactions.
Canada is getting a bad rap for a preferred money laundering location, especially certain provinces. We know that Quebec’s finance minister, Eric Girard, has recently ordered an external and independent audit of the province’s casinos. There is concern that Mafia leaders enjoy luxury perks through the Montreal Casino, such as tickets to shows, meals and free hotel rooms.
But privileged perks are not the heart of the matter. Casinos are ideal places to launder money through their loyalty programs that involve massive cash transactions. Of note, Quebec casinos are the purview of Loto-Quebec, a provincial Crown corporation.
The independent auditor will be hot on the trail of criminal activity. An alleged Mafioso was listed among the top ten players at the Montreal Casino last year.
Loto-Quebec of course is now on the defensive and is denying any wrongdoing. It maintains strict regulatory procedures in view of the province’s legal requirements. Money laundering is a definite provision.
So far there are only allegations, but nonetheless they have dealt a blow to the Canadian regulatory community. It doesn’t bode well for this sector if rampant violations of laws put in place to protect the country’s financial structure are found.