The Manitoba government is expanding the Criminal Property Forfeiture (CPF) branch as part of its ongoing efforts to combat organized crime and money-laundering activities, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Tuesday (Aug 9).
"Money laundering is the lifeblood of many criminal organizations and is related to drugs and guns, which often sparks violence in our communities," said Goertzen. "Going after this money with new dedicated investigators and analysts is about disrupting the activities of criminals and the violence and the fear that follows their activities."
The Manitoba CPF branch is being expanded to add two new dedicated investigators and a financial analyst to target money laundering. This dedicated team will have the resources and expertise needed to effectively investigate illegal money-laundering activities in Manitoba.
The new resources to target money laundering follow legislative changes that passed in the Manitoba legislature last year that strengthen the ability of the CPF branch to quickly act on securing money that investigators believe is illegally acquired and is or could be subject to money laundering.
Last month British Columbia released its final report of a commission of inquiry into money laundering, which encouraged the government to use mechanisms like criminal property forfeiture to target organized crime and others who launder money.
"Manitoba is among the leaders in the country in creating and implementing this type of anti-money laundering initiative," said Goertzen. "We know that criminal activity is often linked together like a chain, connected by drugs, guns, street-level violence, cyberspace and money laundering. We are working to weaken each of these links in the criminal chain."
"In my day-to-day role with the RCMP, I live in the world of organized crime," said Insp. Grant Stephen, officer-in-charge, federal serious and organized crime section, Manitoba RCMP. "Organized crime relies on money laundering to conceal profits from illegal activities and develop further criminal networks, which are often involved in drugs, guns, theft, fraud, cyber threats and violence. The revised legislation increases our ability to tackle this type of crime in an effort to keep Manitobans and all Canadians safe."
Seized assets are held in the CPF fund and are allocated to initiatives that prevent crime, promote safer communities, support victims of crime and purchase specialized equipment for law enforcement agencies. To date, over $20 million has been distributed for these initiatives including recent ones to support Bear Clan patrols in Winnipeg, combat cybercrime and reduce catalytic converter theft.
For more information about criminal property forfeiture, visit https://gov.mb.ca/justice/commsafe/cpf/index.html