BC colleges, universities to review policies due to money laundering report

May 28 2019, 8:57 pm

The BC Government is taking the next steps to curb money laundering in the province by requesting post-secondary institutions to review their financial policies.

In an announcement made today, Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training, said that colleges and universities need to be protected as “places for higher learning and skills development, not for alleged places for organized crime to clean dirty money.”

“Our government has not waited to act while the independent reviews, and now the inquiry, into money laundering have been ongoing. We have a responsibility to stamp out money laundering by addressing and mitigating any possible loopholes as we become aware of them.”

The province says that public and private post-secondary institutions are asked to review all financial policies to ensure that large cash payments from an individual student are not accepted.

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Post-secondary institutions will also be asked to share copies of their existing policies to “guide future direction from the Province.”

“Unfortunately, even our post-secondary institutions are at risk for money laundering,” said David Eby, Attorney General, in a statement.

“Peter German has advised that people are paying thousands of dollars in suspicious cash for multiple semesters in advance and then seeking refunds by cheque. Our post-secondary institutions must not be used to launder money, and we are asking them to review their policies to put a stop to it.”

BC’s Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate released its report along with the remaining chapters of German’s report on May 9.

German’s report focused on money laundering in real estate, luxury cars, and horse racing but he also identified alleged reports of money laundering in “vulnerable sectors” such as BC’s post-secondary system.

The Expert Panel’s report revealed that over $7 billion was laundered in BC last year alone, with $5 billion of that laundered through the real estate market.