Banks help criminals and terrorists move money | Unions Yeah!

Banks help criminals and terrorists move money

Adequate funding for services like health care or enabling tax dodging and money laundering — it shouldn’t be a tough choice.

Ottawa (22 Sept. 2020) — The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is reporting that between 1999 and 2017 banks moved over $2 trillion (US) in funds that had been flagged as possibly being from money laundering or other criminal activity. 2 banks that accounted for US$1.8 trillion of the transactions, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, operate in Canada.

ICIJ also reported that 5 of the global banks, “repeatedly violated their official promises of good behavior.”

Canadian banks also involved in suspicious transactions

According to Canadians for Tax Fairness, major Canadian banks were also involved in processing suspicious transactions. There was also one case where “money was wire transferred to Canada for fentanyl deliveries with the ringleader operating from a Canadian jail cell.”

Tax dodgers use the same methods to move their money as criminals and terrorists

The willingness of global banks to help businesses and individuals moving money for illicit purposes doesn’t just help criminals and terrorists. Wealthy individuals and corporations trying to dodge taxes use many of the same methods as money launderers when moving their money to tax havens.

This means that what the global banks were caught doing results in governments losing revenue. When governments are facing the cost of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic they can’t afford to lose revenue — particularly when the lost revenue is ending up in the pockets of people who are already very wealthy.

Governments have the ability to make money laundering, tax dodging more difficult

Money laundering and tax dodging are problems because it is easy for criminals and tax cheats to use anonymous shell companies and real estate to move or hide money. But that can be changed.

Along with other organizations concerned about tax fairness and fighting corruption, NUPGE has called on federal and provincial governments in Canada to introduce publicly accessible registries of the beneficial owners of companies registered in Canada. Similarly, there have been calls for public registries of who owns property.

A public registry would make it harder for those involved in money laundering, tax dodging, and funding terrorism. The increased scrutiny would likely have an impact on the willingness of banks and other enablers to assist those involved in suspicious financial transactions.

Together with the resulting additional resources for Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), this could have a real impact on money laundering.

There is an alternative to austerity

During the COVID-19 pandemic additional costs and lower revenues have meant many governments are running substantial deficits. Even though the pandemic isn’t over, the 1% and their political allies are already trying to whip up hysteria about the size of the deficit to set the stage for the introduction of austerity policies.

We already know that austerity policies will harm the econom. And the use of austerity policies in the past is one reason Canada was not able to respond as well as it should have to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also know there’s an alternative.

Instead of continuing to allow banks to profit from processing suspicious transactions that are contributing to the billions federal and provincial governments lose to tax dodging, we can introduce the measures needed to make it more difficult.

Adequate funding for services like health care or enabling tax dodging and money laundering — it shouldn’t be a tough choice.