Ottawa’s Marie Boivin removed from U.S. sanctions list

Competing currency exchange shop takes Accu-Rate’s Carling Avenue location
Marie Boivin

Local businesswoman and former chair of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Marie Boivin has been removed from the United States Treasury Department’s sanctions list.

An update filed last week to the list of individuals and entities currently facing U.S. sanctions specifically mentions the removal of Ms. Boivin from the list of sanctioned individuals, though no explanation was given.

Ottawa-based foreign exchange firm Accu-Rate, its president Paul Davis and managing director Ms. Boivin were named among 12 individuals and 24 entities sanctioned last September. They were labelled a “subsidiary or affiliate” of the Vancouver-based PacNet group, an organization accused of fraud and facilitating illicit transactions.

Accu-Rate and Mr. Davis remain sanctioned by the Treasury Department. The designation prohibits U.S. individuals from having any business dealings with sanctioned companies and individuals. Additionally, property belonging to sanctioned entities or people that’s subject to U.S. jurisdiction is frozen.

Ms. Boivin declined to comment on any outstanding issues regarding the firm or her own status.

“I am simply happy to have been de-listed by (the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control) and am looking forward to moving on with my life. It has been a very difficult year to say the least,” she said in an emailed statement through her lawyer, Iwona Albrecht.

On her LinkedIn page, Ms. Boivin currently lists herself as a consultant in areas such as change management and business strategies.

A Forty Under 40 award recipient in 2009, Ms. Boivin was the chair of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce when the sanctions were announced roughly a year ago. In January, the chamber confirmed she was no longer in the role and named EY’s Ian Sherman as acting chair in February. The chamber still lists Mr. Sherman as the acting chair on its website.

The U.S. Treasury Department did not return a request for comment on Ms. Boivin or Accu-Rate’s status.

Accu-Rate out, Ultimate Currency Exchange in

Since the firm was placed on the sanctions list, Accu-Rate’s Ottawa locations have closed. Its presence in the World Exchange Plaza was shuttered, and in May its Carling Avenue location was taken over by another foreign exchange firm, Ultimate Currency Exchange. Accu-Rate’s website has also gone offline and now redirects to Ultimate Currency Exchange.

Bob Azarin, one of the owners of UCE, says his real estate agent approached him about the opportunity to rent out the former Accu-Rate location, down the road from his firm’s previous location near the intersection of Carling and Woodroffe avenues.

He says his agent and lawyer reassured him that the landlord of the space was a separate company from Accu-Rate with different owners, and that he was legally in the clear to lease the space.

“It was a very good deal for us. People already know this location as a currency exchange,” Mr. Azarin says.

The value was clear: The space was already set up to operate as an exchange firm, making move-in quick and easy. Accu-Rate’s former web domain and phone number would also transfer over as part of the deal, helping to send former Accu-Rate customers to UCE.