Canadian authorities have released financial assets of individuals and companies allegedly involved in ongoing protests at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Federal Police Deputy Secretary, Ottawa Mike Duem, announced on February 20. It’s frozen.
Duhem said in Press conference RCMP has frozen 206 financial products, including bank and corporate accounts, and disclosed information on 56 entities related to vehicles, individuals and businesses.
RCMP also shared a 253 Bitcoin address with a cryptocurrency exchange. According to Duhem, he has frozen a $ 3.8 million payment processing account.
It is unclear what will happen to the money frozen by financial institutions.
“We continue to collect relevant information about people, cars and companies and keep in touch with financial institutions every day to help them,” said Duheme.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on February 15 that banks could freeze personal and corporate accounts of suspected people involved in protests and did not require court orders.
Crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use now fall under the Money Laundering Prevention Act and the Terrorism Financing Act, and Freeland will undergo changes to cover all forms of transactions, including cryptocurrencies. He explained.
“The illegal blockade highlights the fact that crowdfunding platforms and some of the payment service providers they use are not completely captured under the Criminal Proceeds Act and the Terrorist Financing Act,” Freeland said. Said.
Her announcement came when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the first emergency law in Canada’s history to address the impact of ongoing protests by truck drivers and their supporters on COVID-19 obligations and restrictions. I was.
Prior to Freeland’s announcement, GoFundMe had raised $ 10 million ($ 8 million) to assist Canadian truck drivers in protesting COVID-19’s obligations.
Still, the February 4th platform said the billions of dollars raised by the organizers would no longer be offered and would instead be sent to an established charity “verified by GoFundMe.”
However, a day later, the platform said it would change course and automatically refund funds to donors.
In response, Republicans on February 10 urged Democrats to hold a hearing to consider what is called “Big Tech Silence,” by canceling their ability to organize funds through crowdfunding. He blamed a commercial crowdfunding platform for selectively discriminating against certain people. platform. “
In the letter (pdf), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (Republican) and James Comer (Republican) are also hard-working millions of dollars in donations received by GoFundMe to support organizations that promote personal freedom. I tried to deceive the taxpayer. ” By trying to divert that money from them and instead pouring it into other unrelated causes. “
Republican lawmakers also called on GoFundMe to provide all documents and communications related to their decision to do so.
GoFundMe did not respond to a request for comment from the Epoch Times.
After announcing that GoFundMe would direct the funds raised to charity, the protesters launched a “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraiser on GiveSend Go.
However, on February 10, the Ontario Government of Canada succeeded in seeking a court order to freeze the millions of dollars raised on the platform until further notice.
Meanwhile, some critics say the Canadian government’s move to use financial power to quell truck driver protests is an unnecessary overkill.
Vanessa Iafora, a financial crime consultant who is an expert on issues related to fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing, told The Epoch Times:
Mr Iafora said the action would set a dangerous precedent as it could allow the government to economically target protesters for political beliefs in future protests.
“In vibrant and mature democracy, citizens and governments should be able to tolerate disagreements and disagreements, and our charter right to protest should be abandoned in such a generous undemocratic way. Not, “she said.
Organizers of Ottawa’s Freedom Convoy have repeatedly said their protests are peaceful.
However, at a virtual press conference on February 18, Freeland and some federal ministers upheld their decision to use broader fiscal power in protests, and Canada’s economy and democracy were “serious. We are facing the threat of foreign funding. “
“These illegal blockades and occupations are not allowed to deprive democratically elected governments of authority. They are not allowed to threaten peace, order, good governments, and they can. Not forgiven. These illegal blockades and occupations are over and end forever, “Freeland said.