The war against those who use British Columbia’s real estate industry to launder illegally-gained funds has a new weapon.
The province’s attorney general has announced an anonymous online portal to enable those with knowledge of money laundering operations to tip off the authorities.
“British Columbians want their government to crack down on money laundering, wherever it takes place. We agree and we also believe that British Columbians can help,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “That’s why we’re providing people in B.C. with a secure and anonymous way to share what they know.”
Along with reporting potential money laundering in real estate, the new portal can be used to report wrongdoing in horse racing and luxury car sales industries.
The portal has been launched to enable the collection of information as part of the ongoing investigations into money laundering in the real estate sector sparked by an initial report by Peter German.
One probe, led by German, is investigating instances of illicit activity on behalf of the Ministry of Attorney General. The other is led by Maureen Maloney and the Ministry of Finance, and is looking for legislative, regulatory and other actions that can be taken to prevent money laundering.
The German probe is now considering several factors including money laundering in the real estate sector connected to criminal enterprises in B.C. or elsewhere, including analysis of the extent of the problem; the use of lawyers’ trust accounts to mask sources of funds in real estate transactions; money laundering in the construction industry, including abuse of builders’ liens; and any other conduct in which there may be an identifiable link between organized crime and real estate transactions in B.C.