Montréal - The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") recently launched a series of penal proceedings in connection with the illegal operation of five money-services businesses in Québec, an area of activity that has been overseen by the AMF since April 2012.
"The launch of these proceedings reflects our determination to strictly enforce the Money-Services Businesses Act. Any business that offers money services, whether currency exchange, funds transfers, cheque cashing, services related to bank drafts, money orders or traveller's cheques, or the operation of privately-owned automated teller machines, and does so without a licence is liable to penal proceedings," said AMF President and CEO Louis Morisset.
More specifically, the AMF has launched a penal proceeding against Payons Comptant Valleyfield inc. and its three officers-owners, Jean-François Lacombe, Michel Séguin and Guy Lemieux, in connection with cheque cashing activities even though it did not hold a licence issued by the AMF. If they are found guilty on all charges filed by the AMF, the business and its directors are liable to a minimum fine of $60,000.
As well, the AMF has launched a penal proceeding against Thi Thu Hong and Vinh Phuc Ngo in connection with funds transfer and currency exchange activities even though Bijouterie & bureau de change Hong Phuc did not have the required licence. If they are found guilty on the two counts filed by the AMF, Thi Thu Hong and Vinh Phuc Ngo are liable to a minimum fine of $10,000.
Bijouterie Ngoc Trang is also the subject of a penal proceeding launched by the AMF for carrying out funds transfer and currency exchange activities without being licensed to do so. It is liable to a minimum fine of $15,000 if it is found guilty as charged by the AMF.
4291921 Canada inc. operating under the name Financière Moneywise, and its sole director, Hossein Pourshafiey, are also the subject of a penal proceeding for offering currency exchange, funds transfer and cheque cashing services without the required licences. If they are found guilty on the two counts, they are liable to a minimum fine of $20,000.
In addition, Tabagie ZamZam and its director Morteza Ali Abbas have been charged with two counts for carrying out currency exchange activities without the required licence. If they are found guilty on the two counts, they are liable to a minimum fine of $20,000.
AMF oversight of money services
Under the Money-Services Businesses Act, which came into effect on April 1, 2012, persons or entities who offer services related to currency exchange, funds transfers, the issue or redemption of traveller's cheques, money orders or bank drafts, cheque cashing or the operation of automated teller machines are required to hold an appropriate licence by the AMF.
The AMF analyzes applications and issues licences to businesses that show that they have the required integrity and good moral character. It works with the Sûreté du Québec and local municipal police forces in determining whether an applicant meets the requirements.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial sector.
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Sylvain Théberge: 514-940-2176