Intelligence agency signed secret deal with bank that compromised obligations
The head of Canada's financial intelligence agency has admitted it signed a deal that interfered with the government's legal obligations under federal freedom of information legislation.
The director of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) made the admission on Tuesday as he elaborated on a confidential agreement that FINTRAC struck with Manulife after fining the bank $1.15 million for violating Canada's money laundering rules over 1,200 times.
Canada's access to information legislation is an accountability tool that allows Canadians to gain access to public records within 30 days after paying a $5 fee. The legislation allows the government to request extensions or censor information if it can provide valid reasons for doing so.
"The issues were very different than what we face normally (after receiving a formal request for access to information)," said the agency's director, Gérald Cosette at the House of Commons access to information committee.