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

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Chemainus

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Crofton Alternate Water Supply Project eliminates boil water advisories

System takes away the need to utilize Crofton Lake in the event of a disruption to mill source

Chemainus sea walk plans get a boost

North Cowichan to sign right-of-way agreements with VIHA

Local beekeeper wants residents to use pesticides more responsibly

Paula Masyk has kept bees for a little over two months, and has had two pesticide events since then

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Licence issue delays boozing while cruising on BC Ferries

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

B.C. school mourns after 13-year-old killed by fallen tree on field trip

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. temporarily halts resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Most Read