The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Noah Arshinoff

Human rights

Canada strengthens anti-corruption laws with Magnitsky Law

By Noah Arshinoff October 16, 2017 16 October 2017

Canada strengthens anti-corruption laws with Magnitsky Law

 

Though not first out of the gate, Canada is about to implement a law that would sanction human-rights abusers, modeled on Magnitsky-style legislation adopted in the U.S. and Britain.

Earlier this month, the House of Commons adopted Bill S-226, which empowers the federal cabinet to forbid Canadian business dealings, or dealings with Canadians abroad, by foreign nationals who are “responsible for, or complicit in, extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” Essentially, cabinet is responsible for maintaining a list of sanctioned individuals. For example, if a Canadian journalist were captured and tortured in Iran, Canada could publish the names of the prison guards who carried out the torture thus adding them to the sanctions list. Those on the list would face severe repercussions in Canada including having all of their property and assets in Canada seized and forfeited.

The bill returns to the Senate for a final look over before it is enshrined in  law.

The law is also Canada’s response to the suspicious death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009.

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Money-laundering

Who’s in Control? Unmasking the beneficial owners of companies

By Noah Arshinoff April 6, 2017 6 April 2017

Who’s in Control? Unmasking the beneficial owners of companies

 

They’ve been called the “puppet masters” by the World Bank. Indeed, the Panama Papers shed light on how beneficial owners, or the real people who own/control companies, sometimes go to great lengths to keep their identities hidden. And according to Transparency International, Canada’s opaque laws on beneficial ownership make it an ideal breeding ground for tax evaders and money launderers.

Canadian law permits the use of nominees—essentially custodians—for directors and shareholders, thereby masking the beneficial owners of a company. For in-house counsel, navigating this environment can be complex, especially within a company’s due diligence program.

Why it matters

According to the World Bank, anonymous companies are the most common way US$1-$2 trillion are lost to money laundering each year. They are also used to finance terrorist activities and line the pockets of drug traffickers and corrupt politicians. While no company means to aid those with illicit intentions, the absence of any sort of national registry of beneficial ownership can make it very difficult to determine who you are actually doing business with.

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Blog

CBA welcomes new integrity regime for public procurement

By Noah Arshinoff July 8, 2015 8 July 2015

On July 3, the government of Canada announced a new integrity regime for procurement and real property transactions.  The new regime replaces the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada’s previous integrity framework, which had been the subject of much debate. The CBA-Anti-Corruption Team wrote to Public Works Minister Diane Finley in April expressing reservations with parts of the old policy and making recommendations for improving it.

The cornerstone of the old regime was an automatic 10-year debarment from transacting with PWGSC for any company found guilty of a listed offence, including bribing a foreign public official.

CBA-ACT’s primary concern with the 10-year disbarment was that it applied the same treatment to potentially very different circumstances.  It also didn’t take into account leniency and immunity programs of other government departments, such as the Competition Bureau. Without considering the factors of each individual case, and lacking any form of a review or reinstatement process, the automatic debarment regime did not encourage entities to self-report or take into account whether they'd taken any remedial measures. 

CBA-ACT recommended that the integrity regime provide for more flexibility and include a method for the term of debarment to be lifted or shortened if an entity could demonstrate rehabilitation and a strong record of compliance.

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Article

The fight against international corruption

By Noah Arshinoff December 6, 2013 6 December 2013

The fight against international corruption

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Article

CBA Anti-Corruption team established to monitor international legal developments

By Noah Arshinoff November 29, 2012 29 November 2012

CBA Anti-Corruption team established to monitor international legal developments

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