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Manitoba takes aim at money laundering with expansion to criminal property forfeiture branch

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In its latest efforts to fight organized crime and money laundering, Manitoba is expanding its Criminal Property Forfeiture branch (CPF).

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Tuesday that the branch will be adding two investigators and a financial analyst, specifically tasked with targeting illegal money laundering activities in the province.

“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.”

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Goertzen said the province has a strengthened ability to act on seizing funds that are believed to be illegally acquired, thanks to legislation passed last year, and that Manitoba is among Canada’s leaders in this type of proactive approach.

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“We know that criminal activity is often linked together like a chain, connected by drugs, guns, street-level violence, cyberspace and money laundering,” he said.

“We are working to weaken each of these links in the criminal chain.”

The branch reallocates seized assets to community initiatives and law enforcement, including the Bear Clan Patrol and projects aimed at fighting cybercrime and the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles.

Manitoba RCMP Insp. Grant Stephen, who heads up the police force’s serious and organized crime section, said laundering is a commonly used way for criminals to hide their ill-gotten gains.

“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,” he said.


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