B.C. Attorney General David Eby and Federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair speak to media following a meeting to discuss money laundering during a press conference at Legislature on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Federal crime reduction minister says it’s hard to get fix on money laundering

A report last year estimated more than $100 million was funnelled through B.C.’s gaming facilities

The amount of money laundered annually by organized criminals in Canada is difficult to estimate, but heightened efforts are underway to halt the flow of dirty money, Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said Wednesday.

The former Toronto police chief said the federal government pledged to create a multi-agency task force in its budget to fight money laundering.

“I worked in organized crime for very many years and it’s always been difficult because organized crime doesn’t share their spread sheets with us,” said Blair. “In knowing the full scope of it, we have to really rely on intelligence and the analysis of that intelligence.”

Last year, an international anti-money laundering agency said organized criminals used an underground banking system in B.C. to funnel up to $1 billion annually from the proceeds of crime through casinos.

A report last June by former RCMP officer Peter German on money laundering in B.C. concluded the province’s gaming industry was not prepared for the onslaught of illegal cash at the facilities and estimated more than $100 million was funnelled through them.

“There are a number of estimates that have been made, but I can say with absolute certainty money laundering is a serious criminal offence that does take place in this country,” said Blair.

READ MORE: B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 15 in alleged international money laundering scheme

The federal minister and B.C. Attorney General David Eby attended a news conference at the B.C. legislature to reinforce their commitments to join forces to fight money laundering.

Eby said B.C. should be in line for the bulk of federal money and resources available to attack money laundering, regardless of how big the problem is in the province.

“Whether it’s $100 million dollars or a billion dollars, whatever it is, it’s very hard to know what the actual number it is,” said Eby. “What we need to do is close the loopholes and ensure we’re addressing the systematic issues that are leading to a lack of prosecutions, a lack of convictions in B.C. on this issue.”

Eby said B.C. is waiting for the delivery of two government commissioned reports before deciding whether to call a public inquiry into money laundering at some Metro Vancouver-area casinos.

Maureen Maloney, a former B.C. deputy attorney general, was appointed last fall by Finance Minister Carole James to head an expert panel to identify and close regulatory gaps in the real estate and financial sectors that could be exploited by organized crime groups.

Eby also appointed German to conduct a second review to dig into possible links to money laundering in B.C.’s real estate sector, horse racing and the sale of luxury vehicles.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia candidate cautious after getting threats

Trev Miller of the Animal Protection Party carries on campaigning under shadow of threats, abusive emails

Kootenay-Columbia riding candidates have Canada’s highest expense limit

Facebook data also shows who is buying ads on the social media website

Rockies earn weekend overtime win

Catch the Rockies at home on Friday, October 25th

Fuel and copper wire thefts in Columbia Valley

Columbia Valley RCMP report October 7-13th

Stabbing in Radium leads to high-risk takedown

Two men arrested in relation to attack

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Most Read