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

Three Vancouver Island fires, three failed smoke detectors

Fire chief urges residents to check smoke detectors following structure fires in Campbell River

Too many puppies! Victoria Humane Society needs foster care help

Pregnant cats, dogs and their litters are in need of foster care

VAUGHAN: Elections Canada grossly limiting free speech by limiting climate charities

Climate issues and confirmed science must have a seat at the table regardless of personal views

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Police rule out foul play in death of man found in Saanich

The B.C. Coroners Service will now conduct an investigation

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Vancouver Island students won’t let names of the fallen be forgotten

Pair navigate maps and scour archives over three years to give nameplates to nameless deceased

Taking risks: Victoria theatre expert and author gains traction for his new model of tragedy

Edwin Wong releases Risk Theatre book, hosts successful global playwriting competition

$5-million lotto ticket sold in Nanaimo

Someone matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s 6/49 draw

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

Most Read