The BC NDP are raising serious questions about money laundering in the province and they want the Premier to act.
John Horgan says in four cases, amounting to the tip of the iceberg, point to money laundering in liquor stores, casinos, and real estate.
“Billions of dollars in revenue from those three sources and now we don’t know if that money is clean or not whether that is money that has been gained by the province through legal means or illegal means and I think they should take that seriously.”
So how much dirty money is being laundered in the province?
“It is impossible to say. Without a serious effort by the government to put into place resources to track this activity. FinTRAC has a warehouse full of information and the government is not asking for it.”
BC Liqour store receives bag full of cash for booze
“And they are abdicating that responsibility by letting the wild west prevail rather than cracking down on criminal behaviour.”
The leader of the BCNDP is calling for the Premier to immediately act on rampant money laundering in the province.
John Horgan says the party was handed an email chain from the BC Liqour store manager at Cambie and 39th asking what staff should do after several large cash purchases of ten-thousand-dollars and more.
Horgan says they were told to not report it and keep it in house.
“They were told as they were not a reporting entity there was no requirement to pass that on to FinTRAC. That strikes me as a glaring gap in our ability to monitor and manage these issues. When we have government liqour stores recieving basically a bag of cash for some booze I think that should raise some red flags with law enforcement. As we see through the emails they were advised to keep it in house.”
He says if the Premier doesn’t act then her government is complicit in the activity.
Major problems with how Realtors track & report money
Horgan says a FinTRAC report found major deficiencies with how realtors track and report money.
The NDP’s Housing critic David Eby says a report by FinTRAC into how realtors do business in Vancouver is worrying.
Eby says the report found significant deficiencies for how realtors keep records and identify clients among other things.
Eby says simple forms required by FinTRAC aren’t being filled out by realtors.
“We are also calling for an additional level of enforcement, which is police. If you don’t fill out the forms properly if you are hiding information there should be a police officer knocking at the door of the real estate office saying why are you concealing the source of the funds? What are hiding from FinTRAC? And that is not happening right now.”
Eby says he also wrote to the Real Estate Council expressing concern about shadow flipping and realtors fudging information on FinTRAC forms and got nowhere.
“The fact that Real Estate agents are not filling out the tracking material properly and FinTRAC is pursuing them on this says to me that there is a serious issue there. If there is a realtor who is repeatedly improperly filling out forms that is a red flag there should be a police officer knocking on that door and saying what is going on here? Where is your money coming from.”
Laundering of millions through BC Casinos
Horgan points to a court case alleging the laundering of millions of dollars through Northern BC casinos.
“They already get well in excess of a billion-point-two in revenue from gaming in British Columbia certainly we could put a little bit of that revenue into protecting law abiding citizens from illegal activiity.”
Horgan says more police officers and resources need to track and prosecute criminals who are laundering ill-gotten cash.
Solicitor General rejects claims
BC’s solicitor general is rejecting those claims the government isn’t doing enough to stop money laundering in BC.
Solicitor General Mike Morris says there are enough laws in place already .
“There are lots of laws in place, and of course transactions over 10 thousand dollars have to be reported to FinTRAC, if they haven’t been reported then those are issues we have to take up with the agencies who haven’t been reporting them.”
Morris is confident BC’s law enforcement agencies are in contact with their overseas counterparts.