(OTTAWA) To better flush out at-risk travelers who wish to swell the terrorist organizations abroad ranks as the armed group Islamic State, Canadian authorities are juggling the idea of reducing the threshold at which banks must report International electronic. At present, all international electronic $ 10,000 and over are required to be reported to the Financial Transactions Analysis and Reports Center, better known in investigative circles under the acronym FINTRAC.
But according to the director of the federal regulator, Gérald Cossette, travelers at risk can sneak through the cracks of the catchment net of amounts lower abroad. Result: his body is not always able to notify law enforcement and security risk that travelers planning to travel abroad for the purpose of joining groups that represent a threat to national security.
“The relevance of a lower threshold for reporting of international wire is currently being evaluated as the financing of terrorism, especially those of high-risk travelers, often involves relatively small sums of money. ”
Gérald Cossette FINTRAC, in a letter sent to the Commissioner for the Protection of Privacy, Daniel Therrien
“The suspicious transaction allowed us to see that the dollar value for international wire was well below the current threshold for reporting, which reduces the financial intelligence on high-risk travelers we could communicate our partners of law enforcement and national security, “says Cossette in his letter dated last April and obtained by The Press under the Access to Information Act.
OVER 130 “EXTREMIST CANADIAN TRAVELLERS ‘BY 2015
In the last annual report of the Ministry of Public Security on the terrorist threat to Canada, published last year, Canadian authorities estimated that there were over 130 “Canadian travelers extremists” who had surrendered to the abroad in order to support activities related to terrorist groups.
A FINTRAC spokesperson Renee Bercier, confirmed to The News that a lower threshold is one of the avenues submitted to the Ministry of Finance to better fight against the financing of terrorist activities. The decision to lower or not this threshold under the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau.
“The decision to reduce that threshold would go in the same direction as the decisions taken by other foreign financial intelligence units in this respect, for example AUSTRAC and strengthen FINTRAC’s ability to communicate proactively with its partners Financial information on travelers at high risk and other risks related to terrorist financing, “said Ms. Bercier in an email.
“[The] FINTRAC is currently discussing the EFT threshold with the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for the Act on the recycling of proceeds of crime and terrorist financing and related regulations,” she added .
SIMILAR TO THOSE RULES OF AUSTRALIA
Ms. Bercier said that Canada could well follow the lead of Australia, whose regime is the one whose rules are more comparable to those in force in this country.
“Among Canada’s allies, it is Australia which requires, as part of its plan, the requirements that most resemble those of Canada when it comes to financial transaction reports. Both countries receive information about foreign wire transfers in a separate statement. In Canada, the information is transmitted to FINTRAC in a “declaration of EFTs” in respect of the threshold of [$ 10,000]. As regards Australia, there is no [financial] threshold related to the declaration, which is entitled “International Fund Transfer Instructions”, “she has said.
According to Michel Juneau-Katsuya, national security expert and former executive at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the idea of reducing the reporting threshold could help uncover the travelers at risk. But he said it would be far preferable to attribute real powers of investigation FINTRAC to make this organization a kind of CSIS financial transactions. “The system operates so that if a series of transfers, even small amounts repeatedly, there is an alarm that is triggered. […] In theory, all transfers are registered. You just have filters that allow to be more specific about what we want to check. But FINTRAC is not necessarily the ability to investigate as it should. It’s more about what we should focus, “he has said.
WHAT THE FINTRAC?
The center of operations and financial statements analysis of Canada (FINTRAC) is the Financial Intelligence Service of Canada and was established in 2000. Its mandate is to “facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. ”