BC to hold public inquiry into money laundering

Galtero Lara
May 16, 2019

Calls for a public inquiry have grown after two reports released by the B.C. government last week revealed more than $7 billion was laundered in B.C.in 2018, including an estimated $5.3 billion through the real estate market.

"That criminal activity has had a material impact on people: whether it be the rise of opioid addictions, the rise of opioid deaths as a result of overdoses, whether it was the extraordinary increase in housing costs, people were being affected by criminal activity in British Columbia".

Horgan says the reports made it clear the depth and magnitude of money laundering in B.C. was far worse than the government imagined.

Some of the powers that will be available to Cullen that were not available for Peter German when writing his report include the right to inspect any public place and seize records, the right to apply to court to obtain a warrant, the right to order a person to attend a hearing and testify, and the power to find someone in contempt if they fail to comply, explained Attorney General David Eby.

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"Even with many red flags, the problem of money laundering is bigger than we thought and more entrenched than we hoped", Eby told a news conference on Wednesday.

He said money laundering is a "crisis" in the province's economy. Last year, another report detailed extensive links between money laundering and B.C. casinos.

The inquiry has been tasked with delivering an interim report within 18 months, and a final report by May 2021.

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