POLITICS
10/15/2018 13:52 EDT | Updated 10/16/2018 12:41 EDT

Chase Cancels Canadian Rapper’s Bank Account Because His Mom Is An MP

Baba Brinkman called the decision "weird and unfair."

Baba Brinkman attends the 'Ingenious Nature' Off Broadway Opening Night at Soho Playhouse on Dec. 5, 2012 in New York City.
Taylor Hill via Getty Images
Baba Brinkman attends the 'Ingenious Nature' Off Broadway Opening Night at Soho Playhouse on Dec. 5, 2012 in New York City.

OTTAWA — A Canadian rapper got a surprise letter in the mail from one of America's biggest banks, notifying him his account will be closed in November because his mom is a federal MP.

Dirk Murray "Baba" Brinkman Jr. is the son of Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray. On Friday, he shared an excerpt of the letter he received from Chase.

"After careful consideration, we have decided we will no longer offer personal and business banking account to current or former non-U.S. officials, their immediate families or close associates," it read.

Murray was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008. On top of her MP duties, she serves as a parliamentary secretary to Treasury Board President Scott Brison.

Brinkman has lived in the U.S. full time since moving there in June 2011 and currently lives on Long Island, N.Y.

His mother's occupation is a "bizarre reason" to cancel a bank account, he explained.

It's not like my mom uses her political influence to sway U.S. monetary policy or banking regulations.Dirk "Baba"Brinkman

"It just seems weird and unfair to punish family members of politicians, who of course didn't choose those affiliations and don't necessarily benefit from them," he told HuffPost. "It's not like my mom uses her political influence to sway U.S. monetary policy or banking regulations."

The letter, reviewed by HuffPost Canada, is dated Sept. 28 and gave Brinkman a month and a half to transfer his money to a new bank.

Chase spokeswoman Elizabeth Seymour confirmed the policy has been in place since 2014. It was introduced to make the bank compliant with anti-money laundering law, and one step in doing that is to close accounts belonging to "non-domestic politically exposed persons."

Bloomberg via Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase & Co. signage is displayed at a bank branch, left, across from its Park Avenue headquarters, right, in New York, U.S., on Jan. 12, 2016.

"We made the decision to exit personal and business banking accounts to current or former senior non-US officials, their immediate families or close associates," she explained in an email. "This policy applies to all countries except the United States – it is not specific to one or select countries."

The U.S. treasury department does not have a clear definition of who a "politically exposed person" is, but according to the government of Canada, they are people "entrusted with a prominent position that typically comes with the opportunity to influence decisions and the ability to control resources."

Chase, which has accounts for 61 million consumer households and four million small businesses in the U.S., said "a very small percentage" of non-U.S. customers have been affected by the policy.

Chase would not disclose how many people, immediate family members or "close associates" of Canadian officials, have been affected.

When the bank moved to implement it four years ago, it was estimated that "3,500 or more" foreign accounts would likely be affected, Seymour said.

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