BC Commission into money laundering reveals gaps in federal government’s duties

Attorney-General of British Columbia, David Eby    Photo BC Government/Flickr
Attorney-General of British Columbia, David Eby Photo BC Government/Flickr
Lisa Cordasco - CHLY - NanaimoBC | 28-12-2020

British Columbia's Attorney General expects the provincial commission examining money laundering will uncover criminal activity, but David Eby wonders whether the federal government will act on it.   An interim report by the Cullen Commission says the federal regulator, FINTRAC, has received information from banks, provincial gaming regulators and police forces about suspicious money transactions for years but has not pursued investigations.  Its biggest-ever money laundering prosecution fell apart before going to court in B.C. last year, due to investigative mistakes.  Eby says he's disappointed the federal regulator continues to avoid sharing information with the provincial commission.

BC's Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate estimates more than $7 billion in dirty money was laundered in B.C. in 2018.  Some commission witnesses have testified that some police and provincial government officials including Rich Coleman, the former BC minister in charge of gaming and housing, turned a blind eye to money laundering in casinos and in real estate.  Eby says prosecutions could follow from the commission's work.

 

B.C.'s Attorney General says he remains frustrated there is no federal investigative unit, focused on money laundering in BC.   However, Eby remains hopeful that a recent federal funding announcement will mean resources will allocated to one soon.  Meanwhile, commission hearings resume next month.

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