Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today. Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe. The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today.

Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe.

The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors.

Opening arguments were held in February and the main hearings scheduled to begin in September will delve into specific industries.

Commission lawyer Brock Martland says the goal of this part of the inquiry is to create an understanding of what money laundering is and the strategies other countries have used to get a grip on it.

The hearings are being streamed online.

Expert witnesses will include Simon Lord of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, RCMP Chief Supt. Robert Gilchrist of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada and Oliver Bullough, author of “Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World.”

“The sort of game plan is to have the view from 30,000 feet,” Martland said.

The inquiry is being led by commissioner Austin Cullen. Attorney General David Eby has said he hopes it will answer lingering questions about how the criminal activity has flourished in the province.

B.C. also commissioned three reports that revealed B.C.’s gambling, real estate and luxury car industries were hotbeds for dirty money, but Eby said an inquiry will be able to dig deeper because it can compel witnesses to speak.

In February, the B.C. Real Estate Association told the inquiry that it supported the creation of a provincial land registry that identifies those buying property. It has also struck a working group to make anti-money laundering recommendations.

The B.C. Lottery Corp. said it has consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac and pointed out unusual conduct to the gaming policy enforcement branch.

The corporation has also brought in measures to control or prevent the flow of dirty money since 2012, including creating an anti-money laundering unit made up of certified investigators and intelligence analysts.

And the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which owns several B.C. gambling sites, also defended the company’s efforts to limit money laundering, telling the inquiry that criticism of the industry is unfounded.

A coalition of tax fairness groups told the inquiry at the time that hiding ill-gotten cash behind shell companies is so widespread in Canada it’s known globally as “snow washing.”

READ MORE: Acceptance of cash deposits rare in real estate, B.C. money laundering inquiry hears

READ MORE: Money laundering has warped economy and fuelled opioid crisis, B.C. tells inquiry

==

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

money laundering

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

“He was just untying the boats and watching them float away,” said Harbour Master Kevin Cortes.

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Ucluelet RCMP warns of scammers impersonating police

“Police will never demand payment of any kind to get rid of an arrest warrant.”

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

Most Read