B.C. to ask Ottawa for more tools to fight money laundering

A day before Attorney General David Eby appears before a federal government committee to discuss money laundering issues, an investigation he launched has issued recommendations for them.

Provincial government also requesting that federal financial watchdog tracks cash purchases of luxury vehicles

David Eby will appear before a federal finance committee in Ottawa on Mar. 27, 2018, to discuss money laundering in British Columbia. (CFSEU-BC)

The federal government should provide more tools for police and provinces when it comes to money laundering, says the person tasked with investigating the subject for the B.C. government. 

Lawyer Peter German — a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP and author of Canada's leading anti-money-laundering law textbook — has recommended that FINTRAC, Canada's financial intelligence unit, share information with police, and that police have adequate resources to pursue leads.

German's recommendations come a day before B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks to a federal committee that is reviewing Canada's Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.

"Through agencies like the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, Revenue Canada and the federal RCMP, the Government of Canada has a major role to play in combating money laundering," said Eby in a statement. 

German is also recommending the government track cash purchases of luxury cars, as "due to their high value, these items can also be used to reintroduce illegal cash to the legitimate economy."

The federal government's money-laundering penalties are currently being reviewed by the committee Eby will speak before. 

Full report coming soon

Last year, Eby tasked Geman to lead an investigation into money laundering in B.C. after reading a report commissioned by the previous B.C. Liberal government, which claimed the River Rock Casino in Richmond accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills in July 2015 that police said could be proceeds of crime.

German's full report is due at the end of March, but already casinos have been forced to provide a "source of funds declaration" when receiving more than $10,000 in cash deposits or bearer bonds.

The investigation expanded last month to explore the role money laundering plays in other areas of the province's economy, including the real estate market and the activities of fentanyl dealers.