B.C. announces money laundering inquiry

B.C. announces money laundering inquiry

B.C. announces money laundering inquiry

There will be a public inquiry into money laundering, the British Columbia government announced last week.

After a couple of reports two weeks ago detailing the depth of dirty money in the provincial economy--$7.4 billion in 2018 alone, of which $5b was washed through real estate—as well as its ties to casinos and the fentanyl trade.

Premier John Horgan admitted the problem is far graver than he’d originally thought.

‘That criminal activity has had a material impact on people: Whether it be the rise of opioid addictions, the rise of opioid deaths as a result of overdoses, whether it was the extraordinary increase in housing costs, people were being affected by criminal activity in British Columbia,” the Premier was quoted as saying in The Canadian Press.

Overseeing the inquiry is B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin F. Cullen, and it is expected to conclude around 2021. In addition to investigating money laundering in real estate, it will also target gambling and the luxury car market.

“I’m totally for it,” Simon Tremblay, the assistant deputy chief on the Charbonneau Commission in Quebec, said on CBC’s The Early Edition.

“I think this exercise will be very good for the province.”

Former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal—who led the inquiry into the police investigation of Robert Pickton’s victims—appeared with Tremblay on The Early Edition and expressed the need for fast procession of the inquiry so that “it doesn’t run off the rails.”

Trembaly went a step further in endorsing the event.

“"It's ambitious, but it's possible," said Tremblay, "It would be one of the best investments the province of B.C. could do."