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

‘This is where the movement is going to start’: Jessica Patrick remembered at memorial march

The march commemorates the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

Upper Skeena Rec Centre officially opens

Community room named in honour of Peter and Lynn Newbery

Jury makes five recommendations following coroner’s inquest into Smithers man’s 2015 death

The jury classified the death accidental with “external pressure to the head [and] neck” as the cause

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read