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Government further examines money laundering in real estate

Government is reviewing two new reports on money laundering in British Columbia. 

Expert Panel on Money Laundering

In September 2018, the Ministry of Finance appointed the Expert Panel on Money Laundering to review money laundering in the real estate sector. This was done after two independent reports revealed B.C.’s real estate market’s vulnerability to criminal activity and market manipulation. The panel has reviewed public submissions, existing legislative frameworks, best practices in other jurisdictions and work that is underway by government to prevent money laundering in real estate.

Maureen Maloney, chair of the expert panel, has delivered the panel’s recommendations to the Minister of Finance regarding B.C.’s real estate sector rules and regulations. The panel’s report will be released later this spring. 

Second review by Peter German

Peter German has delivered his second independent review to the Attorney General. In response to two recommendations in German’s 2018 report, Dirty Money: An Independent Review of Money Laundering in Lower Mainland Casinos, the Attorney General asked German to conduct a second review into:

  • potential links between real estate activity and criminal enterprises;
  • the use of lawyers’ trust accounts to mask sources of funds in real estate transactions;
  • money laundering in the construction industry, including abuse of builders’ liens; and
  • connections between organized crime and money laundering in the horse racing and luxury car industries. 

As government reviews German’s latest findings, work continues on the implementation of the recommendations in the first report, which examined money laundering in Lower Mainland casinos. Government has completed 11 recommendations.

New policies and procedures have significantly reduced large cash transactions in B.C. casinos. Work is underway to address all remaining recommendations, including analyzing options to create dedicated policing resources for gambling and anti-money laundering, creating a model for an independent regulator, clarifying the roles of the regulator and the BC Lottery Corporation, and determining a tracking system to prevent “chip walking.”