In its report released last week, Transparency International revealed that the Canadian government currently has no knowledge of what entities or individuals actually own nearly half of the 100 priciest residential properties in Vancouver.
The anti-corruption NGO noted that the untraceability of the 46 homes—which have a combined value of over $1 billion—stems from the existing regulations governing the ownership of trusts and companies, The Huffington Post Canada
“Only in Kenya and a select few U.S. states is it easier to set up an untraceable company than it is in Canada,” Transparency International said.
“In Canada, more rigorous identity checks are done for individuals getting library cards than for those setting up companies.”
The homes in question purportedly belong to shell companies, trusts, and “nominees” (which pertain to those who don’t actually own the property).
British Columbia Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said that the voluntary nature of the disclosure of ownership allows unscrupulous individuals to park their money in high-end real estate.
“What really needs to be done is to track where the money is coming from, more efficiently,” Weaver suggested.
“It’s a getaway car with tinted windows really, and they can stick a chauffeur in there — a nominee — who drives the car but might not even know who the owner is and what they’re using it for,” according to Adam Ross, author of the report.
Transparency International recommended that the government compel all trusts and companies based in Canada to divulge their “beneficial owners”, the ones who actually own specific properties (which might not even be the names on their respective property titles).
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