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

CP Holiday Train headed to Castlegar

The festive food bank fundraiser will take place December 12.

Castlegar Holiday Happenings

Plenty to do to celebrate the season!

WorkSafeBC investigating serious incident at Trail landfill

Incident shuts down McKelvey Creek landfill Friday morning

Rapping mom busts rhymes for Castlegar rec centre kid’s drop-in

Funny video with important message about importance of service

Byelection for rural Castlegar school trustee set

The election is to replace board chair Teri Ferworn

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Tips for surviving the holidays while dealing with grief

Castlegar Hospice director offers some good advice

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Most Read