B.C. Attorney General David Eby talks about the details found in a recent report done by an expert panel about billions in money laundering in the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (Chad Hipolito - The Canadian Press)

B.C. Attorney General David Eby talks about the details found in a recent report done by an expert panel about billions in money laundering in the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (Chad Hipolito - The Canadian Press)

Kelowna residents speak out at money laundering commission meeting

The commision is gathering preliminary information before it begins evidence-based hearings in 2020

Making it easier to track dirty money and giving more power to regulators to investigate suspicious financial transactions was the focus of a public meeting into money laundering held in Kelowna on Tuesday night.

The meeting is part of a series of public forums being held across British Columbia to gather preliminary information about money laundering as part of the provincial government’s Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering.

While many Kelowna residents said they were hesitant to speak in front of the media during the meeting, Commissioner Austin Cullen and senior commission counsel Patrick McGowan heard from at least three presenters who voiced their concerns and thoughts on the issue.

READ MORE: Hot cars hide dirty money, B.C. organized crime investigation shows

Murda Park, a former manager of a real estate company, said the current process of tracking large transactions for home purchases makes it almost impossible for industry professionals to know where the money is coming from.

“During my time as a managing broker, when we received a certified cheque or money order, we were supposed to keep a record of their money order and get their bank account number to track the purchase. People would never give us their bank account number, that’s completely unrealistic.”

“That’s holding us to a higher standing than the banks. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

During financial audits, Park also said there should be one standard audit form used by the Canadian Real Estate Association across the country for real estate professionals to help make tracking money easier.

Kelowna Resident Christopher Burke said institutions need to be held more accountable when they’re dealing with shady financial transactions.

“I’ve seen a lot of different financial crime go on being a part of a couple different start-ups,” he said.

“In respect to dirty money laundering, one of the issues to me is the inability of the BC Securities Commission to act, especially around the confines of the rule of law.”

Burke used banks as an example where the securities commission could investigate if issues about money laundering arose.

In terms of the investigation process, McGowan said the public meetings are just one tool being used by the commission to investigate the practice of laundering money in the province.

“It is a very challenging issue to tackle, partly because there’s so much that takes place in the shadows and in areas that are difficult to detect,” he said.

“We’ve been given an expansive mandate and we’ve been given the powers to tackle these issues , which includes the ability to compel witnesses and compel the production of documents.”

After the public meetings in B.C. are finished, evidence-based hearings will occur later next year before a final commissioner’s report is released in May 2021 with detailed findings and recommendations.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

Kelowna RCMP on scene at Walmart on Banks Road, due to a suspicious package in the parking lot. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UPDATE: Large police presence at Kelowna Walmart for suspicious package

RCMP responded to the scene with all available units

Gary Brown Sr. (Contributed - West Kelowna Warriors)
West Kelowna Warriors honour late super-fan

The Warriors renamed its Fan of the Year award after devoted fan Gary Brown Sr. died last week

Kelowna’s Post-Modern Connection performs for Riot on the Roof on the top of the Vernon Parkade Saturday, Aug. 22. The band is scheduled to play in the “Live @ The KCT” series in Kelowna on Dec. 4. (Vernon Public Art Gallery photo)
Kelowna concert series moves online due to new health orders

Rebellious Unicorns series ‘Live @ The KCT’ has moved to an online model until further notice

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna city staff recommend allocation for nearly $8M provincial COVID-19 grant

Staff suggest the funds be used for lost revenues, support for the Kelowna International Airport

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

Auxiliary is part of the feds’ $1.5 billion plan to improve marine safety and protect the environment

Multiple protesters cited unsubstantiated claims about the virus and the belief that their “rights are being violated” as reasons for their attendance. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘End the lock-down’ protesters hit the streets in Penticton

The group plans to gather every weekend until restrictions have been lifted, organizer says

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Revelstoke Mountain Resort was voted Best Ski Resort in Canada in the 2020 World Ski Awards. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke Mountain Resort voted best in Canada

The World Ski Awards announced the 2020 winners

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Baxter Bridge at the north end of Trinity Valley Road east of Enderby is open to all traffic Sunday, Nov. 22, but will close again Monday, Nov. 23, for more repair work. Monday is expected to be the last full-day closure of the bridge, which was shut down by the Ministry of Transportation to all but foot and light emergency vehicle traffic Nov. 8 due to structural issues. (Morning Star - file photo)
Okanagan bridge reopens to all traffic

It’s a 24-hour opening of Baxter Bridge near Enderby; final full-day closure set for Monday

Most Read