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Terrorist financing, money laundering, and the Canadian jewellery industry

By Ken Brander

If, after reading the title of this article, your chest tightened a bit, your pulse rate spiked, and you had a hard time swallowing, rest assured, these are not uncommon responses. There’s no need to speed dial your physician quite yet. However, you should keep reading, since just like a lingering health concern, your anti-money laundering compliance program requires your ongoing attention, lest it flare up and cause you some serious grief.

Money laundering, terrorist financing, compliance regimes, administrative monetary penalties, and criminal charges may seem out of place in the jewellery industry. However, since 2008, Canada’s dealers in precious metals and stones (DPMSs) have been deemed one of the 10 reporting entities of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and its regulations. As such, you have a number of legal obligations with which you must comply. These requirements are not optional and you ought to consider them as another cost of doing business, similar to insurance and advertising.

As a former officer with the Edmonton Police Service, I spent 25 years investigating fraud, corruption, and money laundering in Canada and internationally.”¨ In this article, I am going to help you understand how and why this law came about and the implications for you and your business. I’ll also share my thoughts on what you can expect from regulators, as well as some common misconceptions jewellers have that could lead them into serious trouble.

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