BC Money Laundering Inquiry Report Calls for New Law Enforcement Unit
BC has released a money laundering report that carries multiple recommendations and includes the directions for creating a new law enforcement unit as well as a permanent commissioner.
The long-waited report came out on Wednesday, the 15th of June, with over 100 recommendations to address the multi-billion dollar issue of money laundering. The inquiry of the commission was led by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen after the government detected a number of scams traced by the reports in May 2019. The extraordinary levels of money laundering were exposed in the real estate business, luxury cars sectors, and horse racing. In the final report, Cullen said that human trafficking also adds up to the problem.
The report from Cullen presented the flaws in the law enforcement agencies and the lack of action on the crimes of money laundering. The 1800-page report described the failure of prioritization that let the problem thrive for so long. It also put blame on the federal agency that received and analyzed the data generated by the money laundering threats. According to the commission, FINTRAC has failed to provide the information back to the provinces.
The example mentioned targeted the reports received by FINTRAC in 2019/2020. Of 31 million reports only 2057 reports were disclosed to the law enforcement agencies across Canada and 35 to the B.C. The outcome of this made the reporting entities move with a “defensive reporting” approach.
The solution stated by Cullen is that law enforcement must create a dedicated unit to investigate money laundering intelligence. On the legislative level, Cullen also recommended the establishment of the government-backed office with an independent Anti-Money Laundering Commissioner, who will provide oversight on strategic B.C’s response.
Suspicious buy-ins of cash are common in the casinos which also give rise to other criminal activities. Cullen estimates multi-million dollars were laundered between 2008 to 2018. He says that the criminals used the “Vancouver model” as their main method of casino money laundering. In 2014, the B.C casinos accepted over $1 billion of transactions that included 1881 individual buy-ins of $100,000 as per Cullen’s report.
Cullen also pointed out the corruption done by elected officials who are not suspected. Attorney General David Eby also stated: “I’ll say frankly, as a politician, I wouldn’t be satisfied with a sash from the commissioner that says ‘not corrupt.’ I hold myself to a higher standard,”.
This clearly shows the dissatisfaction with no corruption reports among the elected officials.