“Serious concerns around money laundering have now been raised in B.C. real estate, in gambling, and in liquor sales. It’s clear that much more needs to be done to address this issue in B.C., but instead, Christy Clark’s government is asleep at the switch,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan.
Last week, anti-money laundering agency FINTRAC released a critical audit of Metro Vancouver realtors, which pointed to a failure to accurately report the origin of cash in real estate transactions. The audit also noted a tripling of “significant deficiencies” during random audits.
The FINTRAC audit follows three other recent, high profile cases involving allegations of suspicious cash transactions and money laundering. In one case, a realtor deposited funds obtained by fraud into a West Vancouver bank in order to purchase a home. In another case, an alleged drug dealer allegedly laundered drug proceeds through casinos in Northern B.C. and was only detected through a traffic stop. In a third case, employees with reports of suspicious cash transactions in B.C. liquor stores were instructed by management not to report those transactions to FINTRAC.
“FINTRAC is simply a warehouse of information for law enforcement, responding to requests for assistance and analysis when requested. If police don’t have the resources to investigate, don’t have the staff to ask for analysis, we’re left collecting information that nobody uses, and relying on traffic stops as our major anti-money laundering strategy,” said Horgan.
Horgan said these recent cases show how important it is that Christy Clark and her government stop delaying and take serious action to address money laundering in B.C. communities.
“People who work hard, pay taxes and want to raise their families in neighbourhoods that are safe and affordable expect government to track and prosecute criminals who launder the proceeds of their crimes in our communities,” said Horgan.
“If money obtained by fraud and by crime is not being detected, if we are not fulfilling our international obligations to not be a safe haven for illegal money, then everyone in B.C. pays the price. Christy Clark’s government must act – B.C. should not be a Swiss bank account for criminals. Our province must be an accountable, proactive, international partner in crime prevention and law enforcement.”