Canada delays release of money-laundering report for six months

The British Columbia Securities Commission has extended its timeframe to file a report with the United States government on money laundering in its markets by another six months, according to a Wednesday ruling.

The extension was provided in an amendment to the memorandum of understanding the securities commission signed with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New York in July 2016.

The latest extension follows one granted in April, and means the B.C. securities commission now has until October 19 to prepare a report on how much money was laundered by individuals and entities in the province through its capital markets.

The minister responsible for the securities commission, Bill Bennett, said the latest extension was granted because of a need to spend the extra time needed to do a thorough job.

“My expectation is that a thorough, objective report will be completed by October,” Bennett said in a statement. “The public and affected parties should not have to wait any longer to get this information.”

The securities commission began its investigation into whether Canadian markets were being used to launder dirty money after William Kozak, a retired information-technology manager, testified to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in April that $4 billion was laundered through the capital markets of his home province between 2010 and 2015.

Kozak told lawmakers that foreign investors were not required to apply for securities certificates to buy money-laundering operations. And he said money-laundering activities were an integral part of the networks that hired him as a consultant.

An examination of the scope of the report was undertaken by Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jorge Hervé. He estimated it could take up to six months for Canadian authorities to study funds moving through securities markets in Canada.

“There’s really been no discussion or updates, in fact, since my report was completed,” Hervé said. “That’s what I hope will be rectified.”

Chris LaCivita, a lawyer who represented Kozak in Washington, D.C., welcomed the latest extension.

“I am pleased that the B.C. Securities Commission has granted its extension and hopes that the commission’s review of the Wells Fargo report is swift and thorough,” LaCivita said in a statement.

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