Non-compliant B.C. real estate firms on federal anti-money laundering list

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Anna Sobrevinas

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) revealed more than half of B.C. real estate companies at ‘significant’ or ‘very significant’ levels of anti-money laundering non-compliance.

According to records obtained by the Vancouver Sun, about 220 B.C. real estate companies were examined between 2012 and mid-2016, with 112 companies in ‘significant’ levels of non-compliance while five were ‘very significant.’

FINTRAC spokeswoman Renée Bercier said to the Vancouver Sun that the agency increased its real estate examinations by 33% across the country in 2015-2016.

In B.C., however, the agency increased its examinations by four more times, resulting in more than thrice the number of ‘significant’ cases compared with last year’s, said Bercier.

Due to Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorism Financing Act, the anti-money laundering watchdog was not able to release the five B.C. real estate companies with ‘very significant’ ratings of non-compliance.

Records indicate B.C. in second place with the highest number of ‘significant,’ non-compliant real estate firms. Ontario, with a population triple to that of B.C., was found to have 210 ‘significant’ and ‘very significant’ non-compliant companies.

The Real Estate Council of B.C., in response to the findings, said “As part of our focus on public protection, we are committed to supporting FINTRAC in its efforts to educate licensees and brokerages in B.C. about their reporting obligations, and we support FINTRAC taking action against brokerages that do not comply with the federally legislated requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.”

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