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

VIDEO: Young balance-bikers race through Surrey’s Civic Plaza at Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

White Rock Beer For The Pier to go on sale early this week

Restaurants, bars and liquor stores from Vancouver to Chilliwack will sell new brew

45-year-old ID’ed as victim of South Surrey stabbing

Delphin Paul Prestbakmo died at the scene, near 18 Avenue and 152 Street

‘Potentially life-threatening’ injuries in overnight Surrey crash

Police had Highway 10 between 180th and 186th streets closed for several hours

Support granted for NatureKids

Program provides opportunities for youth and families to learn about and enjoy the outdoors

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read

l -->