B.C. is investigating money laundering in Lower Mainland real estate, after millions in suspicious transactions were identified in casinos. (Black Press files)

B.C. to track ‘dirty money’ in real estate, horse racing

$100M in casino cash may only be the ‘fun money,’ David Eby says

The B.C. government is extending its investigation into money laundering beyond casinos, into real estate, horse racing and exotic cars.

Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James announced two separate reviews Thursday, one carrying on the work of former RCMP investigator Peter German into cash brought in through casinos. That includes real estate, horse racing and luxury car purchases.

Eby said when German looked into casino cash brought in by high rollers, he found $100 million in suspicious transactions, including $1.2 million in a single casino visit.

“If this is the money that these individuals are gambling with, this is their fun money, then what is the business money and where is it coming from?” Eby said.

James announced the appointment of Simon Fraser University professor Maureen Maloney, a deputy minister in the previous NDP government, to chair an expert panel on financial services and other regulations that cover international real estate transactions.

“We certainly are going to be looking internationally,” James said. “Money laundering knows no borders.”

RELATED: Cash rules tightened for B.C. casinos

RELATED: ‘Money laundering is the modern face of organized crime’

Both of the reviews are directed to report to the B.C. government by next March.

“Our examination of money laundering in casinos uncovered troubling evidence suggesting that dirty money is circulating in other places in our communities,” Eby said. “The multi-faceted approach announced today is an attempt to move quickly to anticipate and and shut down new avenues for money laundering, and to follow up on specific cases that Dr. German and the media have drawn to the public and government’s attention.”

James said speculation in urban real estate became a “wild west” that attracted other crime.

“Our overheated housing market can attract criminals and people wanting to abuse the system,” James said. “When these people exploit loopholes, they drive up housing prices and help organized crime and drug dealers.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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