Washing copious amount of cash with the help of organized crime, underground banks, and casino venues across British Columbia is one of the most concerning topics across Canada, with more discoveries every single day. Bill Blair, the federal Minister of Organized Crime Reduction, had an extensive conversation with B.C.’s Attorney-General David Eby with the ultimate goal of attracting most of the planned anti-money laundering resources to the province.
The special meeting took place in Victoria where the two officials met to discuss the possibility of fortified support of money laundering battle in British Columbia. It has a private character, but right after it, Mr. Blair made several key announcements that could potentially improve the status quo in the province. He pointed out that Ottawa has agreed that the province needs resources that would facilitate money laundering battling and prevention.
B.C. Attorney-General Expresses Concerns
As a result of more and more details emerging on a regular basis, British Columbia has become almost synonymous with money laundromats and regulation that fails to get the job done. Over the past few months improvement has been seen, but with the new federal budget, they would become more evident. Up to CA$200 million is going to be set aside to battling dirty cash washing over the following five years.
British Columbia is projected to receive most of the attention when it comes to monitoring and detecting potential threats, as well as looking into existing problematic areas. The RCMP and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada are going to benefit from the CA$29 million annual allocations. Mr. Eby insisted on improving the communication and intelligence channels between RCMP and FinTRAC.
Efficient communication had the potential to prevent the money laundering crisis the true scale of which remains hard to pinpoint. The province might manage to launch a public inquiry in the following months once all reports related to money laundering are issued. This is when the collaboration between the two agencies would be put to the test.
CA$200 Million Invested over Next Five Years
The resources mentioned in the new federal budget are going to cover Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, but also the provinces in their entirety, as the issue is a substantial one. A public inquiry is still a hot potato, but Mr. Eby made the point that Ottawa should inform British Columbia if it decides to implement the approach in the upcoming months. Former RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter German still has not seen an RCMP report on money laundering in the real estate field.
This week also saw the scandalous discovery, that BCLC received a green light from a senior official to increase the VIP betting limit in several casino venues amid skyrocketing Chinese players’ activity and money laundering warnings coming from the industry watchdog. Mr. Eby took the time to express his confusion by the way matters were approached back in 2015. The change allowed Chinese high rollers to bet up to CA$100,000 on baccarat, a considerable jump from the previous CA$5,000 limit.
Finance Minister at the time was Mike de Jong who claimed that the ultimate decision was most probably made following consultations with the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch, with Ministry having less to do with it. Improvements and new implementations are on their way, followed by results that would prevent money laundering down the road.