Defence minister's wife shocked TD closing Iranian Canadians' accounts
Nazanin Afshin-Jam speaks on Canada AM about her new book, Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 3:40PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2012 9:22PM EDT
Iranian-born activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam has expressed outrage at TD Canada Trust’s decision to close the accounts of Iranian Canadians without explanation.
The closures were in response to Canadian sanctions against Iran, but Afshin-Jam said the bank is "unintentionally" misinterpreting the sanctions and called on Ottawa to explain the details of the sanctions to financial institutions.
“TD bank maybe in haste read the directions of the government wrong in terms of putting on sanctions and restricting certain transactions from Iran to Canada and vice versa,” Afshin-Jam, who is married to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, told CTV News Channel on Friday.
TD on Thursday said it was complying with Canadian bank laws, including economic sanctions.
However, several Iranian-Canadians have said they were not given any notice before their bank accounts were closed.
“I have received complaints of the recent sanctions, particularly in relation to TD bank, how they’ve closed down accounts and cut off lines of credit and mortgages to Iranian Canadian citizens that have been here for a very long time and have no connection with the regime,” Afshin-Jam said.
Vincent Valai, a Montreal-based immigration lawyer, told CTV News Channel that he has clients that are “angry and quite upset” because they were not notified of the closures.
Afshin-Jam said that while financial interactions between the two countries need to be monitored, only large sums of money going to the Iranian government should cause concern, not small amounts going to family members.
“I think they should have monitored more on a one-to-one basis if these people were really directly connected to the regime,” she said.
According to Afshin-Jam, other Canadian banks have not followed TD’s suit, and she urged TD to reconsider its decision.
With files from The Canadian Press