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FINTRAC or Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada is a Canadian intelligence unit and a regulatory body that is primarily responsible for preventing money laundering and terrorism while at the same time maintaining the safety and protection of the personal information under its domain.
There are 13 federal agencies in Canada that overlook Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Terrorist Financing Regime and FINTRAC is one of them
This mandate has been drawn up by the center to ensure that all business enterprises comply with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. It allows the law enforcements like the police and national security to obtain necessary information avoid terrorist or unlawful activities such as money laundering and other terrorist activitis that threaten the financial security of the country and its people at large.
FINTRAC is an independent body that functions without any close association to the police service or other such entities. However, when necessary the Centre is able to produce data that help law enforcements in other proceedings.
FINTRAC has its headquarters in Ottawa, and has its regional offices in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. FINTRAC is affiliated and reports to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance directly reports the functions of the Centre to the Parliament.
FINTRAC is associated with Egmont Group, an international organized that works together to prevent terrorist activities and money laundering through their information exchange and collaborative efforts.
FINTRAC also lends its support to various other organizations such as Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering(APG), and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force( CFATF) by sharing information.
FINTRAC falls under Privacy Act which strictly regulates and protects all personal information collected from individuals. Failing to protect the privacy of the individuals can result in heavy penalization, upto a fine of $500,000 or imprisonment of five years.
However, there are exceptions when information can be disclosed by FINTRAC to the police or any other investigating body on grounds of emergency.
Information collected by FINTRAC is retained for 10 years. If it is not authorized for disclosure within that stipulated time, it is destroyed.
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