Casino News

British Columbia Brings New Measures to Sweep All Dirty Cash

Mere days ago, British Columbia Attorney-General David Eby announced that Peter German is to expand his probe into money laundering at Lower Mainland casinos and include real estate lending market. The statement came shortly after the media agency the Globe and Mail unveiled rampant money laundering activity through Vancouver’s proliferating real estate market. The investigation found out that lenders are using British Columbia’s biggest real estate market to invest in lucrative properties and launder drug cash.

British Columbia is sweeping up all the “dirty cash” around the country. Last September, the newly-elected B.C. government made a bombshell revelation after publicizing a controversial casino report alleging murky money laundering practices at the River Rock Casino. Mr. Eby vowed to crack down on white-collar crime.

The province’s top official announced the appointment of Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of both the RCMP and Correctional Service Canada to head an independent review of B.C.’s anti-money laundering policies and practices. German’s full recommendations are set to be released by the end of March this year.

B.C. Government Embarks on Money Laundering Hunt with New Rules

The money laundering drama has attracted quite a lot of media attention, with local and international outlets covering the latest developments on the topic. Digging deep into the story, the media agency the Globe and Mail found out that Vancouver’s housing market is allegedly used as a conduit for money laundering activity.

The investigation unveiled that 17 lenders had a stake of C$47 million in 45 properties in Vancouver. According to the Globe and Mail, lenders with links to the fentanyl trade could launder their dirty money by granting large cash loans and mortgages to Vancouver-area property owners. Wealthy newcomers from China were the victims of these “real estate sharks”. For those wondering why a wealthy person would ask for a cash loan, here is the explanation: Chinese government has enacted new tight rules regarding foreign currency transfers out of China.

On Tuesday, British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James stated that foreigners will pay the province a 20% tax on top of the listing value. In that way, the real estate market will be more affordable for residents of Canada’s Pacific Coast province. The new measures are valid since yesterday, raising the tax by 5%. A levy on property speculators is expected to be introduced later this year.

The government is also set to crack down on beneficial ownership, making sure that property owners, offshore trusts and hidden investors are paying taxes on their true gains. Ms. James added that the government is working to bring more transparency to shady ownership records.

Canada already had an existing anti-money laundering regime but it was placed under scrutiny as a result of a shelved casino report unveiling that millions of drug cash were allegedly funneled through the British Columbia gambling industry. In January this year, British Columbia’s gambling regulator has implemented new anti-money laundering (AML) rules to curb the endless flood of Asian high-rollers buying chips with bundles of unsourced cash. More rules are expected to be implemented following German’s full recommendations.