Nu Stream Realty Inc. has been penalized $230,423 for non-compliance with federal anti-money laundering laws, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) announced July 12.
In one instance, Nu Stream failed to submit a suspicious transaction report where there were reasonable grounds to suspect that transactions were related to a money laundering offence, according to FINTRAC.
And more systemic problems were unearthed by the regulator.
Nu Stream, for example, was found to have no appointed person to oversee compliance with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and its associated regulations. As such, it failed to keep adequate records, including failing to institute and document a review, every two years, to assess the effectiveness of its policies and procedures, risk assessment and training program.
Nu Stream also failed to keep all prescribed information in receipt of funds records and in client information records; it also failed to keep all prescribed identification information in client information records, according to FINTRAC.
Real estate brokers and sales representatives and several other business sectors are required under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to keep certain records, identify clients, maintain a compliance regime and report certain financial transactions to FINTRAC.
Nu Stream was established in 2015 and has B.C. offices in Burnaby, Vancouver and Richmond. It also has an office in Toronto as well as a “global research centre” in Beijing, as it caters to Chinese-speaking clientele.
“Nu Stream China is established on the basis of original sales department of Vanfun.com, which has rich experience in selling overseas real estate in China, laying a foundation for the company to expand and carry out real estate business globally,” its website notes.
This is the first time in 2022 FINTRAC has fined a B.C. real estate firm.
Last year it fined Pacific Place – Arc Realty Ltd $255,750 on July 27, 2021, for non-compliance. As well, HomeLife Glenayre Realty Chilliwack Ltd. and Park Georgia Realty Ltd. faced $59,235 and $66,742.50 fines, respectively, for non-compliance in 2021.
The findings against Nu Stream come one month after a report by the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C. indicated the B.C. real estate industry is highly vulnerable to money laundering. Of Commissioner Austin Cullen’s 101 recommendations, 40 were directly related to real estate.
The B.C. government regulates real estate professionals via the B.C. Financial Services Authority.