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NDP Government Going After Money Laundering Criminals After B.C. Liberals Totally Ignored “Dirty Money” In B.C.’s Real Estate Market

By R. Paul Dhillon

VICTORIA –The NDP government is following through it’s promise of going after underworld criminals laundering illicit money or proceeds of crime after an independent review found that criminals were laundering money through BC casinos and the real estate-luxury goods market which the BC Liberals under Christy Clark and previous regime failed to keep tabs on and in fact ignored huge red flags that this kind of financial crime was rampant and BC was flooded with dirty money.

NDP said Thursday that BC Liberal government chose to do nothing as allegations of dirty money in B.C.’s housing market grew stronger. They allowed the situation to get out of hand, and made people pay the price as housing became even more unavailable and unaffordable.

In fact, new leader Andrew Wilkinson has refused the government’s plea to unseal privileged cabinet documents so that much can be learned about what went wrong and what is the best solution to tackle this crime that has helped house prices skyrocket.

BC government announced a two-pronged review to root out and crack down on avenues for money laundering in real estate and other sectors.

“The B.C. Liberals didn’t care that hard-working families could no longer afford a home, and they didn’t care about the serious allegations of money laundering in the industry,” said Ravi Kahlon, New Democrat MLA for Delta North. “They only cared about padding their budget, and the money they were raking in at people’s expense from an out-of-control housing market.”

Here is a brief timeline looking at dirty money in B.C.’s real estate market, and the BC Liberal government’s refusal to take it seriously

Spring 2016:           FINTRAC audits 80 real estate firms in Vancouver and finds that 55 of them have “significant deficiencies” in the way that they report where and from whom money is coming from.

April 2016:              New Democrats ask the B.C. Liberal government why they have not done anything about money laundering in the housing market. Former finance minister Mike de Jong dismisses concerns, despite growing evidence, and simply says that the real estate market “continues to be very robust.”

June 2016:              An independent real estate advisory group releases a report on conduct and practices in the real estate industry in B.C. It makes several recommendations to the Real Estate Council, and to the B.C. Liberal government in order to curb suspicious transactions.

June 29, 2016:        John Horgan and the New Democrats call for a multi-agency task force to fight money laundering in the real estate market, and call on the B.C. Liberal government to embrace all of the recommendations made to them by the independent advisory group.

2017:                       Nothing changes under the B.C. Liberals’ watch. The B.C. Liberals fail to act on recommendations. In the last two years, FINTRAC has conducted 130 examinations in B.C. 115 of these examinations came up with “significant” or “very significant deficiencies” in compliance.

February 2018:        The Globe and Mail publishes an exposé showing how individuals linked to drug crime were putting cash into Vancouver’s real estate market.  In response, Attorney General David Eby reacts to money being laundered in B.C.’s housing market by committing to crackdown on dirty money.

June 2018:              Peter German releases scathing report on BC Liberals’ mishandling of money laundering in B.C. casinos and expresses serious concerns that dirty money was also infiltrating the real estate sector.

September 2018:    Dan Perrin presents review of real estate regulatory structure which finds the system put in place by the B.C. Liberals is dysfunctional, inefficient and vulnerable to money laundering.

Today:                       Ministers David Eby and Carole James announce a two-pronged review to root out and crack down on avenues for money laundering in real estate and other sectors.

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