Toronto, March 4 (IANS) After seizing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s $2 billion in its banks earlier this week, Canada Thursday introduced a bill to seize assets of foreign dictators and their families.
Current Canadian laws allow freezing of foreign assets only if the regime has come under United Nations sanctions, or the assets have been ill-gotten. Though the Canadian government faced no problem in seizing Gaddafi’s $2 billion, it has been hamstrung in the case of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali’s brother-in-law who fled here and holds millions in secret accounts.
The new Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes Act will allow Canada to act upon the request of a foreign state to freeze the assets that their former leaders may have placed in Canadian financial institutions, said Canadian foreign minister while introducing the bill in parliament.
The minister said the Act will give the government ” new and more robust tools in our fight against corruption and the misappropriation of state funds by repressive foreign leaders.
“Recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa have shown the world how important it is to have legislation in place to allow for a quick response to ensure that foreign dictators cannot hide their ill-gotten wealth in our country.”
Reiterating Canada’s commitment to fighting money laundering, the minister later told the media, “As a country that defends the principle of democracy, human rights and right of law, Canada wants to support all countries that try to get away from tyranny and implement a democracy.”