Victoria – The Province will hold a public inquiry into money laundering that has distorted British Columbia’s economy, fuelled the overdose crisis and driven up housing prices.
The decision to proceed with a commission of inquiry follows three independent reviews that found extraordinary levels of money laundering in B.C.’s real estate market and other sectors of the economy.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin F. Cullen has been appointed to head the inquiry, which will look at the full scope of money laundering in British Columbia, including real estate, gaming, financial institutions and the corporate and professional sectors. He will also examine regulatory authorities and barriers to effective law enforcement of money laundering activities. He will have the ability to compel witnesses and order disclosure.
Peter German’s 2018 report, Dirty Money, described a history of money laundering and criminal activity in Lower Mainland casinos. His recently released follow-up report into money laundering in real estate, luxury cars and horse racing found thousands of specific properties worth billions of dollars were owned by individuals or entities with service addresses in “high risk” jurisdictions for money laundering. He also found that there was no agency or police force with adequate oversight or resources to investigate these suspicious activities.