Law professor Maureen Maloney chaired an expert panel on money laundering in B.C. real estate. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. estimates $7 billion laundered in 2018, $5 billion in real estate

Foreign, underground cash may have pushed up average home price 5%

B.C.’s money laundering investigators have estimated $5 billion in money laundering in B.C. in 2018, added to the purchase and resale of luxury cars and other goods for a total of more than $7 billion in dirty money in a single year.

Reports on real estate and financial transactions released Thursday show a similar pattern with luxury cars, bought with cash or untracked foreign transfers, and then resold to cover the source of money. Investigators found luxury goods went beyond sports cars and condos to high-end pianos and other items that can be bought and resold.

B.C.’s activity was part of $47 billion in money laundering across Canada, according to computer models estimating the activity developed for former RCMP investigator Peter German and former deputy finance minister Maureen Maloney.

Maloney’s report notes that with the volume of untraced money, Canada and B.C. in particular are favoured locations for criminals to operate in. That increases the rate of drug trafficking that has fuelled the opioid overdose crisis, as well as pushing up the price of housing by an estimate five per cent in B.C.

READ MORE: Hot cars hide dirty money from organized crime

READ MORE: RCMP has ‘no’ dedicated investigators in B.C.

Attorney General David Eby vowed to close loopholes and improve enforcement as a result of the findings.

“Wealthy criminals and those attempting to evade taxes have had the run of our province for too long, to the point that they are now distorting our economy,” Eby said.

Other things used to conceal the source of cash or convert it to legitimate funds were buying and selling boats, purchases at auction houses, paying fees at colleges, as well as cryptocurrency and foreign credit cards that Canadian law enforcement has no way to check for the source of funds.

“In the past few years, Greater Vancouver has been at the confluence of proceeds of criminal activity, large amounts of capital fleeing China and other countries, and a robust underground economy seeking to evade taxes,” German’s final report says. “These three rivers of money coalesce in Vancouver’s property market and in consumer goods.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan chefs battle at Great Kitchen Party

Chef Kai Koroll of 50th Parallel Estate Winery won the event Friday night

Pre-season booming at Big White with Hallmark movie production

Big White is the main drop for Hallmark’s film Alice in Winterland

Kelowna man sentenced to 18 months probation for filming co-workers in washroom

The man was conditionally discharged following a sentencing hearing on Friday

Woman wanted on Canada-wide warrant possibly in Kelowna area

Brittany McLellan is unlawfully at large and wanted for breach of federal parole

Interior Health issues warning about opioid-laced stimulants causing recent overdoses

Interior Health is urging residents using or considering using drugs to reconsider… Continue reading

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Pedestrian struck and killed in Kamloops accident

Kamloops RCMP responded to the incident at 5:30 p.m. Friday night

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read