Western Standard

December 28, 2021

-Western Standard


The Canadian operations of China’s largest bank have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for breaching the Proceeds Of Crime And Terrorist Financing Act, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China shelled out $701,250 for the breach — the largest penalty of its kind issued this year.

“We will be firm,” Sarah Paquet, CEO of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), said in a statement.

“We will take appropriate actions when they are needed.”

The penalty under the Act is the first against any bank since Manulife Bank of Canada in 2016 was fined $1.15 million for failing to report a suspicious account.

The law requires banks, real estate brokers, casino operators and others to report to FINTRAC all cash transactions of $10,000 or more.

The Chinese Bank was cited for multiple breaches of the Act including “failure to submit suspicious transaction reports where there were reasonable grounds to suspect transactions were related to a money laundering or terrorist financing offence,” and “failure to treat activities in respect of a person or entity as high risk.”

Details were withheld by investigators.

The bank dismissed the breaches as paperwork errors.

“There is no evidence of any misconduct,” management wrote in a statement. The fine was paid and the bank “considers this matter to be closed,” it said.

“A 2019 routine FINTRAC review identified gaps in the bank’s anti-money laundering program in limited circumstances,” wrote management.

“The bank reviewed the findings and concluded they were human and administrative errors.”

The Communist Party of China holds a controlling share in bank, self-described as “the leading bank in the world” with 680 million account holders.

Bank operations here are marginal with a net profit on Canadian operations of US$1.45 million last year, according to filings.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China maintains branches in Vancouver and Richmond, B.C., Calgary, Toronto, Richmond Hill, Markham, Mississauga and Scarborough, Ont. and in Montréal.