On Monday, Judge Laurie Halfpenny MacQuarrie signed an order releasing the next batch of six search warrant documents related to the RCMP’s investigation of the mass murders of April 18 and 19.
Eight media organizations, including the Halifax Examiner, have hired lawyer David Coles to petition the court to release the documents. So far, 13 document sets out of an expected 22 have been released, albeit they are extremely redacted. We’ve instructed Coles to ask for a judicial review to challenge Halfpenny MacQuarrie’s decisions related to the redactions.
In any event, despite the redactions, we learned new information through the documents released Monday. The new information below comes via an “Information to Obtain” (ITO) for a production order related to a video at Brink’s’ Burnside office.
FINTRAC issues Suspicious Transaction Reports
The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) issued multiple Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) related to the killer, who the Halifax Examiner calls GW, and Northumberland Investments Inc., a company that is owned and controlled by GW.
Northumberland is registered in New Brunswick but uses 193 Portland Street in Dartmouth as its address — that was the address of GW’s home and denturist business. Northumberland additionally used a Fredericton, NB address; that address is an apartment building, and if GW ever lived there he had long ago moved away.
The first STR was issued by TD Bank on August 10, 2010. Northumberland Investments had been a client since 1988, but in 2010, Northumberland made three suspicious deposits — two cash deposits totalling $200,000, and a “partial cashing of a term deposit” of $46,000. “Activity shows client depositing large sum of cash and offsets bulk of funds via drafts payable to” GW.
“That looks like money laundering,” Jessica Davis, a securities and intelligence expert who worked at FINTRAC before starting her own consulting firm, told the Examiner in a phone interview. “The document doesn’t say where the cash came from. It’s hard to believe that the bank didn’t ask, so that’s frustrating.”
Asked if FINTRAC may have disregarded or overlooked the 2010 STR, allowing GW’s financial malfeasance to continue, Davis said “maybe FINTRAC looked into it, but there might have been too many other things going on to look at it. I can’t be certain it’s money laundering.”
The ITO quotes a cousin of GW, who was interviewed by RCMP Sgt. Corey Kilburn on April 28. The cousin, whose name is redacted, is a retired RCMP officer. When placed in the interview room, the cousin noted that while he was an RCMP officer he interviewed people in the very same room.
According to the ITO, the cousin “pretty much grew up” with GW and “found him to be a strange little guy.” GW’s parents were “bizarre,” said the cousin.
For GW, said the cousin, “everything was about money” and “he talked about it all the time.”
GW “was paranoid and put his houses in his parents’ name as he was worried about CRA coming for him. GW’s father wouldn’t take his name off the property and that caused the argument.” Both the cousin and GW’s common-law wife describe a vicious attack by GW on this father, albeit the wife said it happened in Cuba and the cousin said it happened in the Dominican Republic.
The cousin said “the last time he spoke with GW, GW talked about how easy it would be for someone to collect all sorts of credit cards, run them up and leave…. GW was always thinking of ways to beat the system and ways to screw Revenue Canada. GW was a scammer and an opportunist.”
The ITO documents that, indeed, GW had “all sorts of credit cards” and other financial instruments. He had five PayPal accounts; three VISA accounts with TD Bank, as well as a “personal account” and a chequing account; two VISA accounts with RBC, as well as two jointly held personal accounts with the Dartmouth branch, one jointly held personal account with the Fredericton branch, and a line of credit with the Bedford branch; and a credit card with CIBC.
Davis suggested that the multiple VISA accounts at each bank could be re-issuances after one card expired, but there is not enough information to confirm that.
Three more STRs were issued in 2020, on April 20, April 22, and May 1 — after the murders, although they detail suspicious activity for several years before the murders. Several of the transactions were “reported to FINTRAC”; it’s not clear from the documents if they were reported before or after the murders.
The transactions are as follows:
GW’s PayPal account — between March 22, 2019 and December 5, 2019, GW’s account was “believed to be used to make purchases for items utilized in the facilitation of domestic terrorist activities.” Those purchases totalled US$3,741.58, and included “vehicle accessories commonly used by police, including items specifically labeled as being intended for police use.” GW bought the items through eBay, with credit cards from TD Bank and CIBC.
Northumberland’s TD Bank account — between June 1, 2019 and April 18, 2020 (the day the murder rampage started), the Northumberland account was used for “atypical cash deposits over reporting thresholds that were primarily utilized to fund drafts payable to” GW. Specifically, one payment of $15,192.66 was made to GW’s personal Visa account, and a second payment of $37,288 was made payable to GW, and was later deposited in a CIBC banking account owned by GW.
GW’s personal TD accounts — a payment of $15,192.66 was made from GW’s TD personal account to his VISA account held at TD, and a draft of $37,278 was made payable to GW and was deposited into GW’s CIBC account.
The Brink’s withdrawal — an employee with CIBC’s Corporate Security explained the Brink’s withdrawal of $475,000. On March 20, GW “liquidated some of his assets by cashing in GICs that were purchased in 2017 and received $400,000. He deposited that money in his business account.
Five days later, on March 25, GW “redeemed some investments and received $75,000.” He also placed that money in the business account. The same day, he spoke with the branch manager at the Portland Street CIBC branch and requested that he be given $475,000 in cash, in hundred dollar bills. “Arrangements were made” to provide the cash through Brink’s, which was done five days later.
The regional director of corporate security with Brink’s Canada confirmed the transaction was arranged by CIBC, as did an employee at the Burnside Brink’s office.
“That shows that he wasn’t being paid because he was an RCMP informant,” Davis told the Examiner. “That Maclean’s story is all wrong.”
“This struck me as simply a small town transaction,” said Davis. The bank didn’t have that kind of money in its vault, so they made the transfer through Brink’s.”
There are other details of GW’s financial transactions, but aside from minor amounts (less than $1,000), most document the purchase of retired police cars and police gear.
There’s more non-financial information contained in the ITO, and we’ll report on that in future articles.
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Jessie Davis earlier thought the $450,000 withdrawal was a possible pre terrorist act back on June 21 (Toronto Star) —— quite right , Jess, to raise all the possibilities but TIM, I fail see how this proves GW was NEVER an informant…must say I found this particular Examiner headline uncharacteristically un-supported by the evidence presented : best to fire the sub-editor responsible…
The argument was that the Brink’s withdrawal itself was proof that GW was an informant. I can think up a thousand other scenarios where he was an informant. Who the fuck knows? But the evidence shows that the Brink’s withdrawal was not a RCMP payment. You need like actual evidence. You can’t just say “well, you can’t prove he wasn’t.”
A thousand. That’s impressive. Call this nitpicking if you want. The evidence presented shows that the Brink’s withdrawal was not some kind of RCMP money transfer for services rendered, but it does not show that the 2 $200,000 chunk of change used to purchase the GICs wasn’t RCMP payment for services rendered. I do not need like actual evidence. I can just say well you can’t prove he wasn’t. I can also say get off your ass and try to find some evidence to support some of the other thousand scenarios where GW was an informant.
Nothing in the newly released documents show mass murderer was not an RCMP informant. It’s not just this particular Examiner headline, but also Tim’s article Expert: GW was not an informant. Both are misleading! But I think firing is too harsh.
Nothing in the newly released documents show mass murderer was not an RCMP informant. It’s not just this particular Examiner headline, but also Tim’s article Expert: GW was not an informant. Both are misleading! But I think firing of whoever was responsible is too harsh. Well if Tim was responsible for the misleading headlines, I guess he can’t be fired.
This is not the way evidence and proof works. It’s on the person who makes extraordinary claims to provide proof, not the duty of doubters to prove a negative.
Seems you’re saying if a person claims GW was not an informant, then it’s on that person to provide proof, not the duty of doubters to prove a negative. Is that what you’re saying?
Yes. If someone says Bigfoot is running around Keji, it’s on them to prove it, not on me to disprove it. If someone says there’s a skygod, prove it, not me. If someone says there’s a Lock Ness Monster… etc, etc.
And if people doubt the claim that GW was not an informant, why would they want to prove that GW was not an informant?
Can you prove the Loch Ness Monster doesn’t exist? Can you prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t create the universe?
“You can prove a negative at least as much as you can prove anything at all,” says Steven Hales, professor of philosophy at Bloomsbury University, Pennsylavania.
WRT new info from court documents about GW’s financial wheeling and dealing, and infamous $475,000 pick up at Brinks, Jessica Davis, a securities and intelligence expert who worked at FINTRAC, told the Examiner: “That shows that he wasn’t being paid because he was an RCMP informant.” That’s curious, given that this “financial expert” Jessica Davis told the Examiner: “The document doesn’t say where the cash came from.”
Two different chunks of change. The first, which related to the “The document doesn’t say where the cash came from” quote, is the $200,000 in 2010. The second, the $475,000 in March 2020, is entirely accounted for in the document: it came from cashing in 2 $200,000 GICs purchased in 2017, and $75,000 in “other assets.” Sure, we don’t know what the “other assets” are, but it’s made clear by three different bank investigators that the entire $475,000 came from assets already owned by GW.
There is no doubt that GW did all sorts of illegal things financially. But the specific claim was that the $475,000 in cash delivered through Brink’s was a payment from the RCMP for GW’s services as an informant. The documents prove that claim wrong. Could it be that GW was an informant that was paid through some other method? I guess, but there’s zero evidence for that, and again, that’s not what the claim was. The claim was the $475,000 payment was itself the RCMP payment. That’s wrong.
Pardon my blunder. But the “financial expert” Jessica Davis doesn’t know where the second chunk of change came from either. I.e., from where did the fella you call GW get the chunk of change to purchase the 2 $200,000 GICs in 2017? Bigfoot? Flatfoots? Perhaps a dog in heaven.
You wrote: ”… originally it was the Brink’s transfer itself was supposedly proof of an RCMP payment.“ The journalists, who wrote the MacLeans article that the “financial expert” Jessica Davis said was all wrong, reported on what their sources told them — which included sources in both banking and RCMP. The journalists did not claim the Brink’s transfer was proof of an RCMP payment.
You claim: “There is no doubt that GW did all sorts of illegal things financially.” What are all the sorts? Do you have “evidentiary proof”? You did say it’s not enough to have a hunch, you have to have evidentiary proof to support the hunch. FINTRAC issuing STRs is not proof. The “financial expert” Jessica Davis speculated about money laundering, but couldn‘t be certain.
Your lengthy commentary in “Expert: GW was not an informant” was …. hmm.. kinda headshaking. Seems to me that you were trying to apply the legal construct presumption of innocence to everyday life which is absurd.
And one might say perhaps a touch of paranoia. What is the probability that, as you say, secondary reasons for RCMP making senseless redactions is that “it gets media organizations to spend a lot of money they don’t really have (the amount the Examiner has spent for its share of the search warrant lawyer would nearly pay half the salary of a full-time reporter), and occupies a ton of reporters’ time that could be better spent.”
Quote from the Maclean’s piece:
The ENTIRE argument is that the RCMP pays informants through cash payments, and therefor the Brink’s pickup was from the RCMP. I don’t know how else to interpret this.
I get that a lot of people are invested in the theory, but it doesn’t hold up. We can move the goal posts: he got that $200,000 in 2017 as informant pay. Well, maybe. Or the RCMP paid him in property in 2010, which he then liquidated. And on and on. Again the argument presented by Maclean’s was: “The withdrawal of $475,000 in cash by the man who killed 22 Nova Scotians in April matches the method the RCMP uses to send money to confidential informants.”
Yes that was the argument presented in MacLeans. But my point was that the journalists who wrote the article reported on what their sources told them; the journalists did not claim it was proof. It’s up to the readers to make what they want of it. To accept what the sources claimed or look for other sources that don’t support those claims or just ignore it.
So GW was “flagged” but nothing done about it, as far back as 2010 : if you follow the media at all, doesn’t that sound a lot like the leaked revelations this week that $2 trillion USA ( nope not a typo !) in suspicious transactions were ‘flagged but not acted upon’ by big banks and their regulators. On paper – govts & banks pretend to be watching out for money laundering but if its profitable for a bank or the host nation – nothing is actually DONE ABOUT IT….