FINTRAC occupies an important position in the constellation of organizations involved in Canada's fight against money laundering and terrorism. Each of these organizations has a particular relationship with FINTRAC. Due to the nature of its mandate, the Centre's work is situated at the beginning of a process that starts with the reports to FINTRAC by financial institutions and intermediaries. With the assistance of specialized automated tools, skilled staff analyze the reported transactions and information from other sources to extract financial intelligence that would be relevant to the investigation or prosecution of money laundering offences, terrorist activity financing offences, and threats to the security of Canada.
Money laundering and terrorist financing cases can be extremely complex, often involving many players implicated in transnational and covert illicit activity. The investigations are often time and resource intensive. For this reason, the time between FINTRAC's initial disclosure and the conclusion of an investigation can be quite lengthy.
FINTRAC's core product is case-specific financial intelligence. FINTRAC is also well situated to provide strategic intelligence about trends and typologies of money laundering and terrorist financing. Because money laundering and terrorist financing are almost always transnational in character, and because an important part of FINTRAC's role is to exchange information with like bodies in other countries, it is also well placed to provide a strategic overview from an international perspective.
The Centre has signed information exchange agreements with certain foreign FIUs worldwide, enabling it to provide financial intelligence to its counterparts that can be crucial to investigations of cases involving the international movement of funds. Equally, it can receive information from these FIUs, which is useful to its own analysis.
When FINTRAC is satisfied that it has reasonable grounds to suspect that the information would be relevant to such investigations or prosecutions, it discloses this financial intelligence to law enforcement and/or intelligence agencies. These agencies, where appropriate, conduct investigations, and if warranted, bring charges against the individuals involved. The recipients of the intelligence include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), provincial and municipal police agencies, CSIS, CRA, CIC and foreign FIUs with which the Centre has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the exchange of information.
FINTRAC is also active in many initiatives aimed at fostering international cooperation at the policy level. Notable among these is its participation in the Egmont Group, where FINTRAC is engaged in the sharing of best practices and other activities designed to strengthen support for member countries' anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes.