BC announces government action against money laundering in real estate

Sep 27 2018, 7:16 pm

The provincial government has just made an announcement on the next steps it will take to combat money laundering in BC real estate.

Carole James, the province’s Minister of Finance, and David Eby, Attorney General of Britsh Columbia, made the announcement earlier today in Victoria.

The province will be launching a “two-pronged review” geared towards shutting down money laundering in real estate and other sectors.

One segment of the review will be led by BC’s Ministry of Finance and will look into “systemic risks.” A committee, headed by Maureen Maloney, will examine gaps in compliance and enforcement, consumer protection, financial services regulations, the regulation of real estate agents, and jurisdictional gaps between the provincial and federal government.

“The last government allowed the real estate market to turn into the Wild West with rampant speculation and out-of-control prices,” says James. “Our overheated market can attract criminals and people wanting to abuse the system.”

The second segment, led by the Attorney General, will dive into specific cases of money laundering in real estate, as well as investigating other vulnerable sectors.

Former RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter German has been asked to conduct a report on the real estate sector, specifically focusing on the scale and scope of illicit activity in the market. The report will also examine the connection (if any) between money laundering, horse racing, and luxury cars.

Both segments of the review will submit a final report, due to the government by March 2019.

Earlier this year, casinos in British Columbia were described as “laundromats for the proceeds of organized crime.”

“Our examination of money laundering in casinos uncovered troubling evidence suggesting strongly that dirty money is circulating in other places in our communities,” Eby said today. “The multi-faceted approach… is an attempt to anticipate and shut down new avenues for money laundering.”

Eby commented earlier this year that the laundering is connected to organized crime, skyrocketing real estate prices, and the opioid crisis in BC.

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