Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today. Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe. The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today.

Over the next 3 1/2 weeks, expert witnesses ranging from academics to police officers are expected to shed light on how dirty money is quantified and the regulatory models that are being used to fight it around the globe.

The B.C. government called the inquiry amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel its real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors.

Opening arguments were held in February and the main hearings scheduled to begin in September will delve into specific industries.

Commission lawyer Brock Martland says the goal of this part of the inquiry is to create an understanding of what money laundering is and the strategies other countries have used to get a grip on it.

The hearings are being streamed online.

Expert witnesses will include Simon Lord of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, RCMP Chief Supt. Robert Gilchrist of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada and Oliver Bullough, author of “Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World.”

“The sort of game plan is to have the view from 30,000 feet,” Martland said.

The inquiry is being led by commissioner Austin Cullen. Attorney General David Eby has said he hopes it will answer lingering questions about how the criminal activity has flourished in the province.

B.C. also commissioned three reports that revealed B.C.’s gambling, real estate and luxury car industries were hotbeds for dirty money, but Eby said an inquiry will be able to dig deeper because it can compel witnesses to speak.

In February, the B.C. Real Estate Association told the inquiry that it supported the creation of a provincial land registry that identifies those buying property. It has also struck a working group to make anti-money laundering recommendations.

The B.C. Lottery Corp. said it has consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac and pointed out unusual conduct to the gaming policy enforcement branch.

The corporation has also brought in measures to control or prevent the flow of dirty money since 2012, including creating an anti-money laundering unit made up of certified investigators and intelligence analysts.

And the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which owns several B.C. gambling sites, also defended the company’s efforts to limit money laundering, telling the inquiry that criticism of the industry is unfounded.

A coalition of tax fairness groups told the inquiry at the time that hiding ill-gotten cash behind shell companies is so widespread in Canada it’s known globally as “snow washing.”

READ MORE: Acceptance of cash deposits rare in real estate, B.C. money laundering inquiry hears

READ MORE: Money laundering has warped economy and fuelled opioid crisis, B.C. tells inquiry

==

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

money laundering

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Indecent exposure at Trail’s Gyro Park

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon just before 5 p.m.

Shots fired at a West Trail home

Police report that the victim, a 37-year old Trail man, was not injured

City of Rossland cancels first open-air bazaar event

The city said the event was cancelled due to low participation.

Perry Siding man drowns in kayaking accident

The death occurred in Slocan River last month

Redstone Resort celebrates Fathers Day

Redstone helps out the J. L. Crowe golf team with Century 21 Kootenay Homes Fathers Day Fundraiser

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read